Gildernew marks Countryside Management Scheme first
Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has visited the first farmer to sign up to the new Countryside Management Scheme in Moneymore.
The new Countryside Management Scheme was launched in June 2008 under Measure 2.2 of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. The Scheme gives financial encouragement to farmers for adopting farming practices that benefit the environment. There are now 1,000 farmers in the process of signing agreements. Moneymore beef farmer Paul O’Hagan is the first in the North to complete the process and has been involved in CMS under the previous scheme since 2001.
Discussing the new scheme’s success, the Minister said: “The enthusiasm and interest that has been shown for the new Countryside Management Scheme since I launched it last June has been phenomenal. This visit is what the scheme is all about. Getting the CMS rolled out on the ground to farmers who are helping to improve their environment day in and day out.
“Attending the first signing of an agreement under the new scheme at Paul’s farm gives me a great sense of pride in what we are achieving across the RDP. Paul has been helping protect his local environment for the last eight years and it very encouraging that he has been able to continue his good work through acceptance onto the new scheme.
Explaining progress so far since last year’s launch, the Minister added: “Paul is the first of around a thousand farmers across the North who are now due to sign up under the new scheme this year. I have particularly enjoyed touring the improvements that he has been able to make to his land under previous funding. Seeing countryside management in action is the clearest illustration of why the scheme’s been such a success.
“The new Countryside Management Scheme is a way for farmers and landowners to receive funding in return for making a positive contribution to biodiversity and water quality, and at the same time, enhance the local landscape.”
The Countryside Management Scheme (CMS) is an element of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, funded under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).