Friday 12 October 2012
€20m Agri-Environment scheme
The Agri-Environmental Options Scheme will re-open shortly to new entrants.
Announcing a €20m allocation for the AEOS scheme, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said a maximum payment of €4,000 per annum will apply to individual applicants, and he was confident that up to 6,000 new participants can be accepted into the scheme.
Farmers will be paid to undertake identifiable and verifiable environmental measures.
As previously, farmers with commonage land, designated Special Areas of Conservation or Special Protection Areas must follow sustainable management plans prepared by planners. These applicants will be given priority access to the scheme. Other criteria, such as participation in REPS, farm size, and location in disadvantaged areas, will also determine priority access.
Full details will be available shortly on the www.agriculture.gov.ie website.
Farmers welcomed the AEOS 3 scheme. IFA president John Bryan noted that payment rates are lower that REPS 3. ICMSA’s Patrick Rohan said it must not be funded by deductions from existing direct payments.
ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said it was not a meaningful support scheme to facilitate farming to a high environmental standard.
Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív said 13,000 farmers coming off the REPS scheme this year had a reasonable expectation they could apply to AEOS.
* Meanwhile, €154m of annual disadvantaged area payments started to arrive on 74,000 farms this week.
They include payments to 3,750 successful applicants for derogation from a revised stocking density requirement. The level of payments compares very favourably with previous years, said Mr Coveney. He said derogation decisions have been made on almost 4,000 cases.
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