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Dawn Meats Reaffirms Support for the Hen Harriers Programme

Dawn Meats Reaffirms Support for the Hen Harriers Programme

22nd May 2020


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Dawn Meats has reaffirmed its support for the Hen Harrier Programme and welcomes the announcement that €500,000 is to be paid to farmers in recognition of their contribution to the very successful 2019 hen harrier breeding season. Dawn Meats supports the Hen Harrier project with advice on suitable livestock selection prior to purchase and provides assistance with performance recording for upland livestock farming.  A guaranteed outlet for the finished livestock is provided by Dawn Meats which enables detailed data reporting on livestock performance.

The Hen Harrier Programme aims to incentivise farmers to enhance the value of the ecosystem services that their land provides. A key strategy towards achieving this is to have grazing from early Summer to the early Autumn in upland pastures. The programme seeks to reward farmers for the biodiversity and ecosystems they maintain, while promoting High Nature Value farming as a system that supports our rural fabric and environment. Without grazing livestock in these high conservation areas during the summer months, the risk of fire which in turn negatively impacts biodiversity, soil carbon storage and the nesting and feeding grounds for the hen harriers among others and the eligibility for agri-payments for the farmers concerned.

Dawn Meats have partnered with the Hen Harrier Programme since 2017 which recognises the important role of livestock farming in High Nature Value farmlands and which helps promote bio-diversity and the awareness of it in the wider community.

Habitats maintained by Irish farmers and inhabited by the hen harrier, have great benefit to local society, the tourism sector and wider biodiversity and conservation goals of Ireland.  

Coupled with the support payments for participating farmers, the freeing up of productive low land for silage is key to supporting the project goals: demonstrating the greater economic opportunity from the land itself while protecting biodiversity, improving soil carbon sequestration and protecting the Hen Harrier breeding grounds.

"The sustainability dividend from the programme is a wonderful example of the key role farmers play in supporting biodiversity and their communities, and a great way of recognising the collaborative efforts of all parties in conserving and protecting the Hen Harrier. We are proud to support this project".

Gill Higgins, Dawn Meats Head of CSR & Sustainability

The Hen Harrier is one of Ireland’s most recognisable birds, known for its specialised diet which open farmland sustains and the fact it is ground nesting species. With only an estimated 108-157 pairs remaining in the wild, the recent announcement from the Dept. Of Agriculture, Food & Marine is a reflection of the key role farmers are playing in sustaining the Hen Harrier’s habitats and breeding.