Cattle Leasing Plan to Help Vital Wildlife; Farmers Have Chance to Hire Grazing Animals FARM & COUNTRY

Article excerpt

FARMERS are being offered the chance to lease grazing animals in a new scheme to improve valuable wildlife sites on Anglesey.

A new partnership called Anglesey Grazing Animals Partnership (AGAP) will buy native cattle and loan them to farmers who can either buy them later at cost price or hand them back.

AGAP, launched at today's Anglesey County Show, is backed by grazing group Pori Natur a Threftadaeth (PONT), CCW, RSPB, FWAG Cymru and the National Trust.

Ultimately the partnership hopes to establish a new Anglesey conservation brand for participating graziers, inspired by similar marketing efforts in England's Limestone Country involving 12 farmers.

The scheme is aimed at improving the wildlife value of 300ha rough and inaccessible heath and fens on the island.

AGAP's coordinator isHilary Kehoe, a conservation expert who with husband Andy manages Morfa Nefyn, a nature reserve at Abergwyngregyn, near Bangor, as well as a Tir Gofal beef and sheep farm nearby.

"This scheme will contribute to the local economy by supporting and encouraging farm diversification opportunities for local farmers," said Hilary.

"It will also increase public understanding of the role of traditional pastoralism in the evolution of the Welsh landscape here on Anglesey."

AGAP will also attempt to marry up existing graziers and their animals with suitable sites, as well as encouraging landowners to target SSSI and Special Areas of Conservation on their own farms.

Additional payments may be available and the scheme will also look to involve sites on Tir Gofal farms which are currently under-managed. …