A cross-border Land Incentive Scheme for the River Derg catchment area in Northern Ireland is currently underway, with the aim of "benefiting farmers and water quality" in counties Tyrone and Donegal.

The pilot scheme is part of the 'Source to Tap' project, which is supported by the EU's Interreg VA prgramme, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), with the support Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland.

The project is led by Northern Irish Water, and delivered in partnership with Irish Water; the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI); the East Border Region; Ulster University; and The Rivers Trust.

A number of information days will be held to promote the programme for the local farming community. The scheme is due to close in July 2020, and landowners in the eligible area are being invited to apply.

Officers from the project are due to attend the information days, which will be held at the following locations:

  • Meenreagh Social Centre - Wednesday, November 20, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm;
  • Killeter Heritage Centre - Wednesday, November 27, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm;
  • Derg Valley Leisure Centre - Wednesday, December 4, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm.

Over the course of the last year, some 115 farms covering over 13,000ac of land have taken part in the scheme.

According to a statement from Northern Irish Water, the farms involved "benefited from tailored water and environment management plans".

"These bespoke plans have highlighted small but significant changes that can be made on each farm that will contribute to better water quality protection and improved sustainability for the farm business," the statement said.

The project aims to demonstrate that simple changes to land management practices can bring about improved raw water quality.

The scheme is supported by the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU); the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA); the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) in the Republic; and the departments of agriculture on both sides of the border.

Further information can be found here.