16 Mar 2011
AEOS MUST BE OPENED AND ALL PAYMENTS DUE MADE – IFARural Development
IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to open the AEOS for the 10,000 farmers, most of whose REPS 3 contracts will be completed by mid-May next.
Mr. Turley said that in last year’s Budget, a commitment was made that the scheme would be open in 2011 to accept farmers into the scheme by the Single Farm Payment Application date. It is important that the scheme is now opened so that farmers are given ample opportunity to assess the scheme.
On the 2010 AEOS payments, Mr. Turley said payments worth €10m to over 9,000 farmers who joined last year are now overdue. These farmers are due payment for the number of months they were accepted into the scheme in 2010.
There was no reason, he said, why 75% of the payment could not now be made as payments can proceed once Department administrative checks are made. The Department of Agriculture has informed IFA that they intend to inspect 5% of farmers over the coming month. Once the inspections are completed the remaining 25% of payments can then be made.
In relation to the 400 Department AEOS rejection letters to farmers who did not fill in the Form N Natura area, IFA is advising farmers to appeal as in many cases farmers were not properly informed by the NPWS about the designated lands.
On REPS 4 payments, up to 7,000 farmers out of 30,000 farmers still remain to be paid. While delays in about 3,500 cases relate to cross checking with SPS areas, some cases relate to information on soil samples awaited from farmers. IFA is encouraging all farmers to respond to any queries so that all payments can be made over the coming weeks.