The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme and AONB Project have kicked off their farmer’s sessions with very informative talks on Monday 9th March in Tí Chulainn, Mullaghbane.
Graeme Campbell from CAFRE spoke about bracken control methods, Station Commander Glen Cleland covered controlled burning awareness and Keith Johnston from DARD rounded off the night by providing a guide to land eligibility for the Common Agricultural Policy changes in 2015.
Graeme Campbell outlined the issues with bracken which is an invasive weed. He highlighted that areas with bracken growing on it, is not eligible under the basic payment scheme, young farmer’s scheme, countryside management scheme or environmentally sensitive areas scheme. He is heading up a team at CAFRE which is plotting a range of methods to deal with bracken using 6 demonstration sites located across Northern Ireland.
Glen Cleland from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service was next up and he outlined the work by NIFRS to raise awareness of how to stop controlled burning becoming wildfires. Mr Cleland encouraged anyone thinking of carrying out a controlled burn to have a plan which includes thinking why is it taking place in the first place, making the fire service aware of your plans and also seeking advice by ringing 9266 2061. By informing the Fire Service, this reduces the risk of fire engines being sent out to controlled burn sites.
Keith Johnston from DARD finished the evening by speaking about land eligibility. He stressed the importance of showing evidence of agricultural activity on all land. Land must be a minimum area 0.1 ha, have eligible vegetation which is either permanent grassland, arable crops or permanent crops. Farmers also have to have the land at their disposal on the 15th May and kept in good agricultural and environmental condition.
Therese Hamill, Ring of Gullion AONB Officer said “We would like to thank all our speakers for getting involved in these events and providing very informative presentations on relevant topics which are affecting farmers across the Ring of Gullion area. I know I have learned a lot from the talks which have already taken place.”
The next talks will be farm safety in Crossmaglen Community Centre on the 24th March and farm diversification in Forkhill Community Centre at 7.30pm on 26th March. For a full list of the rest of the talks, visit www.ringofgullion.org and click on What’s on.
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