P.E.I. farmers encouraged to delay first cut of hay to protect grassland birds
Participating farmers will be paid $25 per acre to delay first hay harvest
In an effort to protect grassland birds, P.E.I. farmers are being urged by the provincial government to delay cutting their hay crops until mid-July.
The province has signed an agreement with a group called Alternative Land Use Services Canada to provide $90,000 over three years to farmers who postpone harvesting their hay. Grassland birds create their nests on the ground in tall grass fields.
"We're seeing quite a few farmers raise their hands now saying they don't mind delaying their cut a little bit. Some of them know they have bobolink and want to do the right thing," said Shawn Hill, co-ordinator for Alternative Land Use Services Canada in P.E.I.
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Grassland birds like the bobolink, a threatened species in eastern Canada, nest in hay fields and the young aren't ready to fly until early July which coincides with hay season.
Farmers who take agree to delay cutting their hay until mid-July will receive $25 per acre.
Hill said the payment is to recognize the value farmers provide to the ecosystem.