Frequently asked questions

1. How do I apply?

Submit a completed expression of interest form to the Project Team. 

2. I’m already in GLAS, will I still be eligible for a Pearl Mussel Programme payment?

Yes, however, to avoid the risk of double payments, when the participants are in the Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) or Traditional Hay Meadow (THM) measures in GLAS, there is a reduction of Pearl Mussel Programme payment by 40% for LIPP and 20% for THM. Prior to any supporting actions being approved, the potential for double payment against GLAS measures (such as Riparian Margins) is checked.

3. Will my BPS be affected?
The payments will be in addition to other supports such as BPS, GLAS, and ANC. The Programme recognises the importance of farming in sustaining a high quality environment in the catchments. We do not foresee lands becoming ineligible for payment under BPS due to the Programme. 

4. Do you need a farm advisor to get into the Programme?

Yes. The farmer nominates an approved Pearl Mussel Programme advisor to support them during the Programme. A list of trained approved advisors will be provided by the Project Team. In the case of commonages, a single advisor will be nominated.

5. Can I use my existing GLAS advisor?

Yes, provided they have completed Pearl Mussel Programme training and have been approved by the Project Team.

6. Who pays the advisor?

The farmer will pay the advisor. The cost of advisor input has been factored into the results payment.

In the case of commonage, the advisor fee will be paid directly to the advisor prior to farmer receiving payment. For small farms with low payments an administrative allowance may be paid by the Programme. 

7. Does my land have to occur next to the river?

No. Farmers with any lands that occur within any of the eight project catchments are eligible to apply to join the Programme. Lands that occur alongside the main rivers will, however, be prioritised for entry to the Programme. A detailed map of the catchments can be viewed here.

8. Does my land have to be designated SAC?

No. All farm land within the catchments are included. Payments do not differ between designated or non-designated lands.

9. Can I apply if I only have a commonage shareholding in the catchment?

Yes. However, your shareholding must be associated with a priority commonage that has been selected for the Programme. The list of priority commonages can be provided by the Project Team or downloaded here. To view a detailed map of priority commonages can be viewed here.

10. Do all shareholders in the commonage have to participate?

No. All shareholders in priority commonages are invited to apply to join the Programme. The payment on commonages will be divided amongst participants in proportion to their shareholding in that commonage.

11. Do I have to attend training and do I get paid to attend?

Yes. All participating farmers are required to attend at least one training course per year. Courses will be delivered by the Project Team. You will receive a payment of €100 for attending a single day training course.

12. What measures do I have to do?

This is a voluntary results-based Programme whereby the farmer gets paid according to the biodiversity result achieved. The approach allows for a high level of flexibility for the farmer. The farmer can choose the means by which they manage their lands in order to achieve the result.

13. How can I achieve a higher result and increased payment?

It is ultimately up to the farmer as to how they manage their farm.The farmer will attend annual training during the Programme. The Project Team can advise and there are a series of voluntary supporting actions that the farmer may choose to undertake in order to help improve the result. These actions are co-funded by the Programme.

14. Where can I get further information on the Programme?

Further details on the Programme can be provided by the Project Team or are available to download here

© Pearl Mussel Project Ltd 2018