AEOS 2 Scheme Must be Improved on to Maintain Interest – IFA

IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley said the Agri-Environment Programme is in danger of disintegrating as a result of the watered down AEOS 2 scheme which the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has introduced.  “The Minister must restore the maximum payment of €5,000 for 10,000 farmers as this is the only way to ensure that the AEOS 2 scheme has a meaningful impact.”

Mr. Turley said great progress has been made over the past 15 years through farmers participating in environmental works on their farms which has had huge benefit to the environment and the rural economy.  The watered down AEOS 2 scheme is a severe blow to farmers who have been committed to the Agri-Environment Programme and the likelihood now is that uptake will reduce.

The IFA Rural Development Chairman said 10,000 farmers who are finishing REPS 3 face a very uncertain future and many will not see the new scheme as a viable option.

On the AEOS 1 scheme Mr. Turley called for all payments due for 2010 to be made immediately.  It is estimated that €8m is due to about 8,600 farmers who got into last year’s scheme.

In relation to the 400 farmers whose plans were rejected, IFA is advising farmers to appeal.  Already, 150 farmers who have appealed to the Department of Agriculture have succeeded in getting into the scheme as they had Natura land on rented ground for less than 5 years and did not require a sustainable management plan.  IFA is advising farmers in similar situations to appeal as this will ease the pressure for places on the AEOS 2 scheme.

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