IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley has said that the commencement of AEOS payments this week is long overdue and must be immediately extended to all farmers who applied for the scheme in 2010.
Mr. Turley said the payments relate to the number of months farmers were in the scheme in 2010. 5,600 farmers had a start date of September 1st and are due four months payment, and 2,800 farmers who have Natura land have a start date of November 1st and are due two months payment. Over the past few days, 75% of the payment due has been made to nearly 2,000 farmers, with the remaining 25% due shortly. Around €1.2m has now been paid and IFA estimate that €8m is owed to farmers and this must be paid out without further delay.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman reminded farmers who have queries on their applications to respond immediately so that their application can be processed by the Department of Agriculture.
Mr. Turley said, “In relation to the outstanding 2010 REPS 4 payments, it is unacceptable that some farmers are still waiting their final 25% payment. These cases must be cleared up immediately so that the way is clear for full REPS 4 payments to all farmers later in the year.”
On the 2011 AEOS 2 scheme, IFA has been told that nearly 7,000 farmers have applied. The start-up date for farmers accepted into the scheme will be from September 1st and Plans will continue up to the end of 2016. Farmers will be written to over the next number of weeks of either acceptance into the scheme or in relation to queries on the file. Farmers should respond immediately to these queries.
Overall on REPS 4 and the AEOS payments, Tom Turley said that the full allocation of €337m available in the 2011 Book of Estimates must be spent this year.
Also, he said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must endeavour to secure unused funds from both within and outside his Department to avoid a carryover of payments into 2012.