Five Things Farmers Do for Nature

Targeted agri-environment schemes
See the Nature Restoration Law Information Hub for more details.

See also ‘Irish Farmers Do a Huge Amount to Support Nature’.

Fact 1: Space for Nature

UCD research confirms that 12-14% of the areas on Irish farms qualifies as ‘Space for Nature’.

Fact 2: Hedgerows 

Ireland has almost 700,000 kilometres of hedgerows covering c. 2.6% of its land area, which are protected by law. This landscape is unique to Ireland.

Fact 3: Wild Bird Cover

Irish farmers planted approximately 20,000 hectares of wild bird cover under the Green Low-Carbon Assurance Scheme (GLAS). To put this in context, this made wild bird cover the 4th largest crop grown in Ireland in 2020, 2.5 times larger than the area planted for potatoes.

Over the period of the GLAS programme (2014-2020), according to the Central Statistics Office, the farmland bird index actually increased by almost 19%. There are some species which are under threat and many farmers are involved in projects to address this.

Fact 4: The New CAP

Every farmer must farm in line with the code of Good Agricultural and Environmental Practice in order to receive their EU Basic Payment. In addition, 25% of the farmers payment is ringfenced into an ‘Eco Scheme’ payment which includes allocating and maintaining ‘Space for Nature’. Furthermore, farmers can now include land which is dedicated to nature for EU payments. Under CAP regulations prior to 2023, farmers were actually penalised if this land was included for payment. 

Fact 5: Environment Schemes

Over 46,000 farmers have applied to participate in the new Agri-Climate Rural Environmental Scheme (ACRES).  This scheme has an emphasis on many measures that promote biodiversity including grassland and river margins and the planting of additional trees and hedgerows.