Published on 06 May 2021
Research and Policy Officer
About this good practice
European farmland has experienced wide-scale loss of wild pollinators over the last 50 years. The decline in bees, butterflies and other insects has largely resulted from the effect of monoculture and the drive to ever higher levels of agricultural productivity, which is also characterised by a loss or neglect of hedgerows, farmland edges & scrub. PFP involves working with farmers across farm types (beef, diary, mixed & tillage) to roll-out a whole farm pollinator scoring system and identify what management practices on Irish farmland beneﬁt pollinators. The whole farm pollinator score is calculated based on each farmer’s management practices. In the long term, this score will help farmers to understand how pollinator-friendly their farm is, and identify what simple, low-cost actions they can take to work towards improving their score in a way that does not negatively affect productivity. PFP is built on evidence-based actions and a results-based payment model. The participating farmers receive an annual payment based on their overall farm pollinator score, which is calculated based on the quantity & quality of pollinator-friendly habitat on the farm. Scores are based on weighted indicators relating to the following 5 criteria: Flowering hedgerows; Pollinator-friendly trees; Pesticide inputs; Flowering margins around field edges, and; Flowers. Scores are adjusted for quality and the higher the pollinator score of the farm, the more the farmer will be paid annually.
PFP is an EIP-AGRI project funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. Total funding for 5 years is €1,194,679. This covers results-based payments to the 40 participating farmers (capped), human resources & other project costs.
Evidence of success
In 2020, farmers received their first results-based payments depending on how pollinator-friendly their farm is. Pollinator-friendly habitat was identified on each of the 40 farms and farmers were provided with examples of how to increase their pollinator score for the next assessment period. The Year 1 success of the project has demonstrated how the scoring & payments system could be rolled-out as a results-based agri-environmental scheme through the reformed EU Common Agricultural Policy.
Potential for learning or transfer
According to the PFP method, pollinator measures must be present for farmers to obtain pollinator points and payments. PFP measures are therefore self-targeting and have the ability to fit conditions and circumstances in any target location. As a Results-Based Payment Scheme (RBPS), with a standardised system of payments linked to desired deliverables of the programme - as defined by habitat quality scorecards (result indicators) - the approach is highly transferrable to other EU regions. For successful transfer, the results-based approach of the PFP project needs to be supported by training for farmers, advisor and inspectors, advice on optimal delivery and tailored farm plans, along with appropriate monitoring and evaluation. According to the method, the farmer is free to choose the measures which are most suited to them and their farming conditions to deliver the desired result. This makes the PFP method highly adaptable to regional variation across all measures.