IFA Hill Committee Chairman Tom Fadian has said that the on-going Review of Commonage Stocking Levels must include proposals for an effective environmental scheme for sustainable management.
Speaking following a meeting in Portlaoise at which the IFA presented detailed proposals; Mr Fadian said that this review is an opportunity to ensure that farming can be sustained in hill areas through a combination of agricultural production, environmental management schemes and Disadvantaged Area Payments.
The review being carried out by the Department of Agriculture and the National Parks and Wildlife Service encompassing 7,000 commonages nationwide and involving 450,000ha will replace the framework plans which have been in place for the past 10 years.
IFA has proposed that a flexible timescale be put in place so that farmers are given every opportunity to reach the sustainable stocking level. Farmers who want to increase their stock level immediately must be also allowed to do so.
Mr Fadian said the IFA proposal also includes the use of dormant shares, allowing new entrants use of commonages and that the control of Gorse involves changing the burning date from 1<sup>st</sup> March to 15th April.
The IFA Hill Chairman said that is expected that the review will be completed by June and that farmers will be communicated with so that they can plan their farming activity for 2013 when the new arrangements will come into play.