Wildflower Meadow Lscott

Farming for Nature - Technical Group

The Farming for Nature Technical Group was convened by the Heritage Council as part of its ongoing High Nature Value (HNV) Farming Ireland work.

The Farming for Nature Technical Group was convened by the Heritage Council as part of its ongoing High Nature Value (HNV) Farming Ireland work.


The Heritage Council has long advocated for the support of High Nature Value (HNV) farming systems in Ireland. In response to declared national crises in both climate change and biodiversity, the Heritage Council sought a focused response, setting out how Ireland might best apply these principles in the context of expected changes to CAP and the new Green Deal.

The Farming for Nature Technical Group was convened by the Heritage Council as part of its ongoing High Nature Value (HNV) Farming Ireland work, in association with Galway- Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT)/European Forum on Nature Conservation Programme (EFNCP). The group brings together many years’ worth of experience of working directly with HNV farmers across Ireland, including through European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) AGRI Groups, and with a range of other partners including the Heritage Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Farming for Nature Technical Group Members

Lorcan Scott (The Heritage Council)
Patrick Crushell (Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project EIP (PMP)
Brendan Dunford (Burren Programme (BP)
Gwyn Jones (EFNCP and RBAPS Project)
James Moran (GMIT and RBAPS Project)
Patrick McGurn (AranLIFE Project and Caomhnú Árann EIP)
Derek McLoughlin (PMP and RBAPS Project)
Fergal Monaghan (Hen Harrier Project EIP (HHP)
Caroline Sullivan (HHP)

Aims and Objectives

The work of the Farming for Nature Technical group focuses on the development and delivery of locally-adapted Agri-Environment Climate (AEC) Schemes, working closely with farmers and other stakeholders and using tried-and-tested ‘result-based payment’ measures to meet a range of key environmental objectives. Building on collective experience, we now wish to propose a reformed CAP Green Architecture under the CAP Strategic Plan to include a ‘Locally Adapted Farming for Nature Measure’.

The proposal below provides a pathway to delivering DAFM’s stated ambition in Section 8.2.10 of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 of using the EIP AGRI experience to inform the next RDP.

This proposal summarises the reflections of many individuals, groups and consultations over many years e.g. discussions during a range of workshops and study trips in 2019, including at the Burren Winterage School, formal and informal discussions with DAFM officials and NPWS staff, and workshops held with the DG Env and DG Agri in Brussels. We see this proposal as a starting point for discussion and would welcome the input of others, in particular EIP-AGRI Operational Groups and, of course, DAFM.

This proposal is intended to be practical and constructive, based on good science and many years of experience from reliable sources operating at a significant scale. It recognises and, we feel, addresses the challenges faced by DAFM in delivering more with less under the new CAP. It does this by simplifying the CAP for Irish farmers, satisfying exacting EU audit needs and accommodating a range of competing sectoral interests.

Core Considerations

There are six core considerations in our proposals for the CAP green architecture in Ireland. These are

  • value for money
  • farmer engagement
  • evidence-based
  • integrated and simplified
  • results-based and auditable
  • relevance.

    We propose an integrated framework across Pillar I and II of the CAP that has three tiers with increasing environment ambition and delivery as you move from baseline conditionality (Tier 1) to eco-scheme (Tier 2) to agri-environment climate measures (Tier 3).

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