Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Schemes

Photo of Neasa HouriganNeasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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192. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the farm environmental study programme which was allocated funding in budget 2021 will be open for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17029/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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As the Deputy may be aware, the Farm Environmental Study (FES) pilot programme was launched in December 2021 and is designed to generate a database of baseline habitat and biodiversity data at farm level.

This launch followed a competitive tender process which resulted in the contract for the roll of out of FES being awarded to the Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA).

It is anticipated that approximately 6,500 farm level habitat surveys will be carried out under the pilot FES. Each survey will provide the participating farmer with valuable information around the biodiversity on their farm and the ecosystem services they provide.

This information will also allow each participating farmer to plan specific management practices which will benefit the environment.

Officials in the Department are in regular contact with the ACA who are currently finalising operational details around training and the procedures for on-farm surveys.

I anticipate that the FES programme will be open to farmer applications in late April. This will allow farm surveys to be carried out during the summer months which will be the optimum survey period.


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