Representatives from RSPB Northern Ireland recently met with Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to discuss the next Rural Development Program, the future of agri-environment schemes and the draft DARD budget.
The charity expressed concern that with the current RDP ending, some farmers could drop out of agri-environment schemes before the new programme is implemented in 2016.
The RSPB also raised this issue of targeting agri-environment to maximise the success of the schemes.
By targeting areas where high-priority species are found, these schemes can provide better value for money and better results for the Department of Agriculture, farmers and for the environment.
The RSPB acknowledged the challenges presented by the potential cuts to the DARD budget this year, and stressed to the minister that they would continue to work with the Department of Agriculture to ensure the best outcome possible.