Saturday, 8 July 2017

Fergal Monaghan from Yourcommonage is the Project Manager for the new Hen Harrier Locally Led Agri Environment Scheme

Hen Harrier Locally Led Agri- Environment Scheme.

The Hen Harrier Project are the lead partner in a consortium appointed by the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to design and run the Hen Harrier Locally led Agri-Environment Scheme. The other partners in the project are the Golden Eagle Trust and Brendan O Gorman Accountants. Fergal Monaghan from the yourcommonage team is the new project manager for the delivery of the Hen Harrier programme.

The Hen Harrier Project will be based in Oranmore, Co. Galway. The head office is supported by regionally based Project Officers. To help design and test the new approach, a group of 12 development farmers have been selected, spread across the 6 Hen Harrier Special Protection Areas. The development of effective and practical opportunities for farmers in the SPAs cannot be done in an office. The project must be built from the ground up. The development farms give the project the ability to design and test their proposals at farm level. The farmers themselves supplement the project teams skills and capacity and give a unique insight into the issues at farm level. 

The Hen Harrier Project will give farmers in the Hen Harrier designated areas an opportunity to earn an additional income from their lands. It will recognise and reward their role in delivering important environmental services. The project will support habitat enhancement and let farmers share in the environmental dividend that this delivers. These supports will be in addition to GLAS. 

We at yourcommonage support this new direction in the delivery of agri environmental opportunities to farmers and wish the team the very best for the future.

Support Fergal and the team by following the Hen Harrier Project on twitter. You can get there by following this link. 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Results of the open call for EIP proposals.

 Minister Creed Announces Selection of 22 Projects for the Next Phase of The European Innovation Partnerships Initiative The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. today announced the results of a competitive process to select proposals to proceed to Round 2 of the European Innovation Partnerships Initiative (EIP). The EIP forms part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020, and is centred on groups of actors coming together to develop and implement their innovative ideas for how they propose to address challenges they have identified. 

The Minister commented “I am delighted to see the EIP progressing to this next phase which provides an important opportunity to respond to challenges in our sector in a new way. The proposals received in response to this call are of a very high quality and a clear indication that the EIP initiative is recognised in the rural economy as a very useful approach to addressing challenges in a collaborative and innovative way.” 

“The 22 projects which have now been selected to progress to the next phase will now be funded to develop a detailed project plan for their projects. A number of these proposals will then be selected to move forward to the full implementation phase. ” 

Support for this element of the EIP is structured around a competitive fund, whereby an open call for proposals addressing key challenges in the agri-food sector was put in place. In effect, there are two streams within this call which will be administered via the same process throughout. The first stream is focused on themes such as farm viability, economic performance, sustainable forest management, and innovative technologies. The second stream is focused on challenges related to environmental, biodiversity and climate change issues. 

The Minister added “I am delighted to see that the EIP proposals successful at this stage of the process seek to address a wide range of challenges in the sector. Successful proposals include projects to address such diverse themes as water quality, the restoration of upland peats, developing the potential of biomass, livestock management and production, forestry, organic production methods, food chain management, and a number of biodiversity challenges. This shows the potential of the EIP to encourage innovative approaches to the challenges facing the agri-food sector.” 

Round 1 of this competitive process started in December, 2016 with an initial call for proposals using a simple application form. All proposals have now been evaluated by a selection committee with reference to criteria such as value for money, relevance to the EIP programme, and compatibility with Rural Development Priorities. This generated a shortlist of 22 applicants chosen to go forward to Round 2, and these will be funded to prepare detailed project plans. Following assessment of these detailed project plans, a final shortlist will be drawn up for implementation on the ground. 

A further open call under the EIP will issue later this year. An overall funding package of €24 million has been allocated to support EIPs under these two calls. 

Information on the European Innovation Partnership initiative can be accessed on the Department website at or by contacting 

The projects selected for the next phase of the EIP Initiative are:

  1. Ovi Data Increasing sheep genetic gain in Ireland through commercial data capture Sheep Cork/Kerry. 
  2. Flock Health and Production Focus Group The challenges associated with flock health and lamb production Sheep Sligo/Leitrim.
  3. Silva Biome Novel silvacultural systems for multifunctional forestry on industrial cutaway peatlands Forestry Dublin and Meath.
  4. Carbery Alliance for Sustainable Protein Sustainable Protein in Dairy Protein/Dairy Cork Kerry. Maximising Organic Production Systems (MOPS).
  5. Maximising organic production through integrated cropping systems. Organics Countrywide.
  6. The Connected Farmer Shortening the supply chain by connecting producers to the end consumer using a novel blockchain online platform approach Food Chain Mayo.
  7. Irish Biochar Cooperative Society Biomass to Bio carbon for Farm Bio economy Biomass Limerick/Clare.
  8. Robinia Ireland Robinia – new tree species for Irish Forestry Forestry Countrywide.
  9. Irish Breeding Curlew Conservation Group Conservation of Breeding Curlew in Central Ireland. Birds/ Biodiversity Galway/Midlands.
  10. Nephin Beg Uplands Farming Group Nephin Beg Locally Led Environmental Project Peat Uplands Mayo.
  11. BRIDE Project Group Biodiversity Regeneration in a Dairying environment Dairy Cork/Kerry.  
  12. ECT (Enable Conservation Tillage) Wider adaptation of sustainable conservation tillage systems Tillage Tipperary, Laois.
  13. Duncannon Sustainable Farming Association Duncannon Sustainable Farming Scheme Water Quality Wexford.
  14. Caomhnú árann Managing the habitats of the Aran Islands to maximise their agricultural and ecological output Biodiversity Aran Islands. 
  15. DANÚ Farming Group Biological Farming Transition Programme Biodiversity Countrywide 
  16. Maigue River Operational Group Water and Agriculture – delivering environmental and economic sustainability Water Cork.
  17. Callows Farming and Wildlife Conservation Partnership The Callows farmland biodiversity Conservation Project Birds/ Biodiversity Connaught.
  18. Rush Control and Pesticide Water Quality Action Group Disseminating best management practices for rush control to improve the productivity of grassland and minimise herbicide residue loss to drinking water Water Countrywide.
  19. Wicklow Uplands Council Sustainable Uplands Agri-Environment Scheme (SUAS) Peat Uplands Wicklow.
  20. Grazing for Ecosystem Services Group The use of GPS technology in hill farming Eco systems Connaught.
  21. Blackstairs Farming Futures Partnership Delivering more for nature and sustainable farming in the Blackstairs Mountains Peat Uplands Carlow/Wexford.
  22. Limerick Lesser Horseshoe Bat Farm Project Farm Links to Lessers - a farming biodiversity project for lesser horseshoe bats in Limerick Biodiversity Limerick

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Clawback on the sale of entitlements sold without land cut to 20%

Minister Creed announces cut in clawback on sale of entitlements to 20%

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has today announced a cut in the amount of clawback applied to the sale of Basic Payment Scheme entitlements without land.  In 2016 the sale of entitlements without land was subject to a clawback of 50% of the number of entitlements sold.
The Minister commented “based on the experience of the level of sales of entitlements without land in 2016, I believe that a reduction in the level of claw-back to 20% is appropriate for 2017 and will assist farmers in future business planning”.
Following recent consultation between the Department and the Direct Payments Advisory Committee, comprising members of the main farming bodies and agricultural advisory and education providers, the Minister has decided that the level of clawback on the sale of entitlements without land in 2017 should be cut to 20%.
The proceeds arising from the implementation of clawback are used to replenish the National Reserve fund.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Farm Advisor Positions Available with Tirglas.

Farm Advisors Jobs Available.

Tirglas Farm Advisors are a large farm advisory agency with clients from Wicklow to Kerry to Sligo. We specialise in supporting farmers in Natura designated areas and in commonage. We currently have a requirement for experienced farm advisors to work in our Claregalway office. This position requires FAS and GLAS approval. Pay will be commensurate with experience, a generous package will  be available to the right applicant.

To apply please send a CV and covering letter to Applications must be made before March 10th. If you have any questions regarding this post please e mail them to us and we will get back to you.This is an opportunity to work with one of the most innovative farm advisory agencies in the country. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Interim Commonage Management Plans

Commonage farmers who joined either GLAS 1 or GLAS 2 made a commitment to participate in a commonage management plan. As part of their GLAS contract these farmers are required to have reached their minimum stocking level by the end of 2016. To do this, it is obvious that these farmers must know what the minimum stock requirement is. To achieve this and to facilitate the release of the the GLAS payment for 2016 the commonage advisor must prepare and submit an Interim Commonage Management Plan. 

This plan will set out the minimum stock numbers that must be held by each GLAS participant by the end of 2016. The other issues relating to maximum stock numbers and management issues such as burning, dumping, seasonal patterns of grazing, invasive species and supplementary feeding will be decided by the full set of GLAS participants (including GLAS 3 applicants) in 2017. 

The interim plan must be signed by each GLAS participant and submitted by the end of October 2016. If this is done the GLAS payment for 2016 will follow within 4- 6 weeks. If the form is not submitted no GLAS payments will issue to any of the participants. If an individual farmer fails to sign the form then no payment will be made to that farmer in 2016.

Due to the very short period of time available, this is going to be very difficult for advisors to manage. The closing date is only 13 days away, it is impossible for us or for  most other advisors to visit each farmer individually to get the interim plan signed. For this reason we are inviting farmers to come into the office to sign up to their plan. The office will be open until 8:00 pm each evening from tomorrow Wednesday October 19th until Thursday October 28th. The office will be closed on Monday October 24th to allow us to hold a clinic in Peacockes Hotel in Maam Cross.

Fergal Monaghan and Thady O Brien will be in Peacockes from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm. Unfortunately due to time constraints if you are unable to attend in Peacockes then you will have to come into Claregalway. Whether you meet us in Maam or at our offices please try to come in early in the day as we anticipate significant queues in the evenings. Payment for the Commonage Management Plan is now due. The amount outstanding must be settled before the interim plan can be signed. 

P.S. There is no need to book an appointment nor do you need to bring anything with you.

The link below will allow you to see a copy of the letter sent by the Dept. of Agriculture to individual advisors informing them of what is now required. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Press Release on Interim Commonage Plans 

27 September 2016


The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. today announced his Department is putting arrangements in place to provide for the submission of interim Commonage Management Plans by the end of October 2016. 

“In order to maximise the numbers of GLAS participants included under the final Commonage Management Plan process my Department is putting arrangements in place to provide for the submission of interim Commonage Management Plans by the end of October 2016. This process will ensure that payments can issue to all eligible GLAS participants at the same time later this year” said Minister Creed.

 The Scheme provides for maximum basic payment of €5,000 per annum to participants on the basis of the range and quantity of environmental actions they deliver as part of their GLAS plan. On the basis of the commitments made by participants under the first two tranches of the Scheme, Commonage Management Plans will be prepared for a significant number of commonages nationally. 

“The Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) launched in 2015 has been a major success with over 38,000 applicants approved for participation in the first two tranches of the Scheme. This represents the highest number of applicants ever approved for participation in an agri-environment scheme in a single year. It has also been extremely successful in the range of actions undertaken by participants in the five year scheme.” concluded Minister Creed. ENDS

Friday, 16 September 2016


One topic that has recurred again and again at our Commonage meetings is the continuing belief that AEOS participants can see out their contracts and then join GLAS. This is incorrect, of course farmers can see out their AEOS contract but they if they choose to do this they must appreciate that the last opportunity to join GLAS will be this Autumn and their decision to stick with AEOS means they will have missed the boat. If you do not join GLAS this Autumn there will be no scheme available to you when your AEOS contract finishes.

Lets look at the impact of this on participants in AEOS 1, 2 & 3 respectively. 

AEOS 1 participants joined that scheme in the summer of 2010, they got a contract running until the end of 2016. They will be finishing that contract this year and can have a seam less transition into GLAS. 

AEOS 2 participants joined that scheme in 2011 and have a contract that will run until the end of 2017, if they stay in AEOS they will lose out on upto €25,000 in GLAS for the sake of a maximum of €4,000 in AEOS.

AEOS 3 participants who choose to stay in that scheme will be opting for a maximum payout in AEOS of €8,000 in preference to upto €25,000 in GLAS. 

Obviously this is a decision for the individual farmer and there may well be other reasons that may  be relevant to them. But from a financial perspective this is a no brainer, if you do not join GLAS this time around the door will have closed on that scheme and you may have to wait for many years before another agri - environment scheme becomes available.

On a separate note we are continuing to make good progress on completing commonage fieldwork. A list of the commonages that we deal with is given below. Of the remaining sites most are commonages with GLAS 2 applicants only and which were only allocated to us in the last few weeks. It remains our intention to have all of these completed  before the end of September. 

County  Commonage Status 
Clare Coastal
Galway  Courhoor Fieldwork Complete
Galway Maw Fieldwork Complete 
Galway Cloughaunard
Galway Doon  Fieldwork Complete 
Galway Fahy
Galway Ballyconneely
Galway Ardkyle Fieldwork Complete
Galway Lettergesh East Fieldwork Complete
Galway Lettergesh East Fieldwork Complete
Galway  Toombeola
Galway Murvey Fieldwork Complete
Galway Cuilleen
Galway Glynsk Fieldwork Complete
Galway Letterdeskert
Galway Ardmore Fieldwork Complete
Galway Callowfinish Fieldwork Complete
Galway Kilkieran Fieldwork Complete
Galway Letterpibrum Fieldwork Complete
Galway Shannawirra Fieldwork Complete
Galway Kylesalia Fieldwork Complete
Galway Loughaconeera Fieldwork Complete
Galway Glennagevlagh Fieldwork Complete
Galway Crumlin East Fieldwork Complete
Galway Dooghta Fieldwork Complete
Galway Ballyweeaun Fieldwork Complete
Galway Boocaun Fieldwork Complete
Galway Glentrasna Fieldwork Complete
Galway Lettermore Fieldwork Complete
Galway Lugganaffrin Fieldwork Complete
Galway Shanvally Fieldwork Complete
Galway Halfcarton Fieldwork Complete
Galway Knockadav Fieldwork Complete
Galway  Oorid Fieldwork Complete
Galway Shannavarra  Fieldwork Complete
Galway Turlough Fieldwork Complete
Galway Turlough Fieldwork Complete
Galway Camus Oughter Fieldwork Complete
Galway Kinvarra Fieldwork Complete
Galway Bealadangan Fieldwork Complete
Galway Bealadangan Fieldwork Complete
Galway Lettercallow Fieldwork Complete
Galway Lettermore Fieldwork Complete
Galway Maumeen Fieldwork Complete
Galway Barraderry Fieldwork Complete
Galway Carrowroe North Fieldwork Complete
Galway Carraroe North Fieldwork Complete
Galway Carrowroe West Fieldwork Complete
Galway Clynagh Fieldwork Complete
Galway Derrynea Fieldwork Complete
Galway Keeraunbeg Fieldwork Complete
Galway Muckanaghederdauhaulia Fieldwork Complete
Galway Ballynahown North Fieldwork Complete
Galway Cartronlahan Fieldwork Complete
Galway Inveran Fieldwork Complete
Galway Knockadoagh Fieldwork Complete
Galway Minna Fieldwork Complete
Galway Minna Fieldwork Complete
Galway Tully Fieldwork Complete
Galway Bovroughaun Fieldwork Complete
Galway Cornarona Fieldwork Complete
Galway Loughaunbeg Fieldwork Complete
Galway Shannapheasteen Fieldwork Complete
Galway Shannapheasteen Fieldwork Complete
Galway Shannapheasteen Fieldwork Complete
Galway Boliska Eighter
Galway Killagoola Fieldwork Complete
Galway Newtown Fieldwork Complete
Galway Oghery Fieldwork Complete
Galway Billymore Or Carrowntober Fieldwork Complete
Galway Cloghermore Fieldwork Complete
Galway Cloghermore Fieldwork Complete
Galway Lettercraffroe Fieldwork Complete
Galway Maghera More Fieldwork Complete
Galway Rushveala Fieldwork Complete
Galway Shannadullaghaun Fieldwork Complete
Galway  Callownamuck
Galway Gortacarnaun Fieldwork Complete
Galway Ower
Galway  Derryloughan East 
Galway Coldwood Or Foorkill Fieldwork Complete
Galway  Turloughmore Common Fieldwork Complete
Galway Addergoole Fieldwork Complete
Galway Annaghdown Fieldwork Complete
Galway Barranny Fieldwork Complete
Galway Coteenty Fieldwork Complete
Galway Coteenty Fieldwork Complete
Galway Beagh More Fieldwork Complete
Galway Big Island Fieldwork Complete
Galway Cloghaun Fieldwork Complete
Galway Kilbeg Fieldwork Complete
Galway Gortnagleav Fieldwork Complete
Galway Kilnagappagh Fieldwork Complete
Galway Cullenagh Fieldwork Complete
Galway Cullenagh Fieldwork Complete
Galway Derrybrien East Fieldwork Complete
Galway Derrybrien East Fieldwork Complete
Galway Knockauncarragh Fieldwork Complete
Galway Keelderry Fieldwork Complete
Galway Carrigeen East Fieldwork Complete
Galway Carrigeen West Fieldwork Complete
Mayo Glencally Fieldwork Complete
Mayo Erriff Fieldwork Complete
Mayo Letterass Fieldwork Complete
Mayo Lettermaglinskin Fieldwork Complete
Wicklow Brockagh Fieldwork Complete
Wicklow  Seven Churches Fieldwork Complete
Wicklow Cullentragh Big Fieldwork Complete
Sligo Farranaharpy
Tipperary  Curreeny