The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association is calling on Minister Humphreys through a Ministerial Directive to extend the timeframe for prescribed burning to the 31st of March. INHFA National Chair Vincent Roddy outlined how there has being no suitable time since last September to carry out prescribed burning due to very wet conditions.
“Proposals to extend the dates to the end of March was before the Dail but wasn’t enacted due to the announcement of the election stated” Mr Roddy.
“The extension of this date is now essential for many hill farmers who had areas identified for prescribed burning in order to help maintain their land in a state suitable for grazing” added Mr Roddy
Following meetings between the INHFA and Department of Agriculture Food & the Marine Officials (DAFM) assurances were given to the INHFA that controlled or prescribed burning is an acceptable agricultural activity amongst others, in maintaining mountain type land in a state suitable for grazing.
“In effect controlled burning is as essential to improving the vegetation and agricultural return from mountain type land as ploughing or reseeding is for lowland” stated Roddy, who also pointed out that similar to farmers who cultivate their lands, this action can only be carried out when weather conditions are suitable.
Mr Roddy concluded by pointing out how hill farmers need to be afforded the same opportunity that has being given to other farming sectors as a result of adverse weather. He added how “failure to extend the prescribed burning dates to the end of March will impact on land maintenance in hill areas and will possibly require derogation for hill farmers under land eligibility guidelines”