Minister Hackett welcomes half million bonus payment to Hen Harrier Farmers

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Hails success of results based schemes

Says 996 farmers involved are true ‘farmers for nature’

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Senator Pippa Hackett has welcomed the news that 996 farmers have this week shared nearly half a million euro in Hen Harrier bonus payments.  The payments were made under the €25 million Hen Harrier scheme funded by the Minister’s Department under the Rural Development Programme.

The bonus payments, totalling €483,927 are in recognition of these farmers’ success in delivering habitats for Hen Harriers and other wildlife and they qualify for the bonus based on how well Hen Harriers are doing in their area

Commenting on the payments, the Minister said, “In a week dominated by reports of fires in our upland areas, it is a relief to get some good news.  I am delighted to see these results based payments being made to farmers who have ensured that the Hen Harrier population in Special Protection Areas have reached their objectives. This is a real achievement and the farmers involved have earned every cent. This payment is not a hand-out.  The farmers have managed their farms to deliver a habitat that sustains the Hen Harrier population and they deserve recognition for that.  These farmers are true farmers for nature.“

This particular Hen Harrier bonus payment is one of three in the program. It is made if the Hen Harrier population in a Special Protection Area reaches its objective.  Farmers who delivered the quality habitats in that SPA share in the bonus, while farmers whose lands are within the core territory of a Hen Harrier nest can qualify for an additional payment. If the nest is successful, that achievement is recognised and rewarded through a higher bonus payment. 

This payment supplements a results-based payment for habitat quality and a supporting actions payment for investments designed to improve the farmer’s capacity to deliver enhanced habitats.

Acknowledging the co-operation required to deliver such a programme, the Minister also said: “The recent fires especially in Killarney at the weekend are a reminder of the importance of good management of our fragile ecosystems and this Hen Harrier Scheme is an excellent example of the collaborative approach which is needed.”

Finally, commenting on the added value the work of protecting the Hen Harrier brings, the Minister added, “The actionstaken by farmers to support Hen Harriers have a wide range of other benefits also, including for nurturing other wildlife, for carbon storage, for climate adaptation and for water quality. So as well as being an indicator of the health of the ecosystem of the landscapes in which it breeds and hunts, the hen harrier can deliver extra for that eco system. And crucially, I believe the success of the programme shows us that a national agri-environment programme tailored for local communities and landscapes, yet effective in delivering local objectives really is achievable.”

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