Farmer consultation meetings a great success

PMP Farmer Meeting Collage

Over the last three weeks the Pearl Mussel Project hosted a total of 8 farmer and community consultation meetings within each of the catchments in the project in Counties Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo and Donegal.

The project team were delighted with the attendance at these events, with more than 250 farmers and local community representatives present at the different meetings.

The farmer consultation evenings provided an opportunity for the farm communities to learn about project developments to date, meet Pearl Mussel Project team members, and provide an input to the design of the results based farm programme to be launched in 2019. We had valuable discussions and input from local farmers at the meetings, touching on subjects such as treatment of commonage lands, turf cutting and other impacting activities (fishery and forestry), programme duration and participation, payment rates, and the control of invasive species among the topics raised at the meetings. During the meetings the project team circulated a consultation questionnaire to gauge perceptions in relation to farming, freshwater pearl mussel, and agri-environmental schemes. Over 175 completed forms were returned!! The responses are currently being analysed and will inform future programme design.

The Pearl Mussel Project wish to thank all the attendees who gave their time to participate at the meetings.

We would also like to thank the various groups that provided venues for the consultation meetings for their support of the Pearl Mussel Project including The Blackwater Tavern, Caha Centre, Dromid Day Centre, Glencar Community Centre, FORUM Connemara, Glen Keen Farm, The Boat Inn and Colmcille Heritage Centre.

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New Catchment Officers Appointed

The Pearl Mussel Project are delighted to welcome our two new catchment officers Tara Challoner and Mary McAndrew to the team working on the project to protect freshwater pearl mussels in Ireland. Tara will be working with farmers in the southern catchments in Cork and Kerry out of our Kenmare office, while Mary will be providing farmer support in the west and north-west catchments in Mayo, Galway and Donegal from her home base in Mayo. 

Mary McAndrew SML

Mary McAndrew has spent the past two and 1/2 years advising farmers on behalf of both the Farm Relief Services and Teagasc, and working with farmers for the GLAS agri-environmental scheme. Mary also worked on the Knowledge Transfer Groups programme, hosting meetings for farmers on relevant topics.

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Tara Challoner Portrait

Tara Challoner has been working as a farm conservation advisor on hill farms in the UK since 2011 and has worked on several agri-environment schemes, including catchment sensitive farming and the development of  the results-based agri-environmental pilot scheme (RBAPS) project for the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (ENFCP) in the Yorkshire Dales. She has trained several groups of farmers and set up a land manager group who have joined a Natural England facilitation fund, whereby they agree to work together to protect the environment at a landscape scale.

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© Pearl Mussel Project Ltd 2018