Environmental Farming Business Development Groups Open for Application

Malachy Dolan farms over 50 hectares of primarily Higher Nature Value Farmland near Garrison, Co Fermanagh. He operates a high welfare suckler to weanling calf system with cattle having access to spacious straw bedded housing during the winter months. The farm is managed in an extensive manner sympathetic to the local environment and in such a way that species diverse grassland meadows and wildlife thrive together.

Malachy has participated in an adviser led CAFRE Business Development Group for a number of years and is looking forward to the prospect of the new Environmental Farming groups going forward. “The peer learning aspect of my local BDG group is invaluable to my farm business at present, and that can be equally beneficial in an environmental context. Given the current challenges facing our climate, as farmers, increasing our awareness and knowledge of our local environment can only be a good thing.”

Environmental Farming BDGs (Business Development Groups) are a new option within the BDG scheme, whereby local farmers across a range of farm types will meet six times a year on farm to discuss topics of interest to the group or demonstrate management practices that can protect or enhance the environment.

Environmental Farming BDG’s will be facilitated by a local agri-environment adviser and are open to all farmers who meet the usual eligibility criteria for BDGs, whether you are applying as a new BDG member or are already a member of another BDG group.

The Business Development Groups Scheme is part of the NI Rural Development Programme, is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and is currently open for applications until Friday 24 January at 4pm.

Further information is available by visiting the CAFRE website or by contacting your locally based CAFRE adviser.