IFA President John Bryan said a meaningful AEOS scheme must be shortly put in place for farmers who are committed to implementing agri-environment measures on their farms and, in particular, those who have finished their REPS 3 contracts during 2011.
John Bryan said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must recognise the importance of an AEOS scheme by allowing farmers ample opportunity to apply well in advance of the 2012 mid-May Single Farm Payment application date. “An AEOS scheme for up to 10,000 farmers must be made available as well as restoring payments to AEOS 1 levels with a maximum payment of €5,000.”
Mr. Bryan said, “One of the major problems in funding agri-environment schemes over the past number of years has been the failure to pay all payments due in the calendar year. Yet again in 2011, an underpayment of almost €60m occurred as not all AEOS payments and REPS 4 payments were made within that year. Minister Coveney must factor this in to his Department Estimate for 2012 when securing funding for an AEOS 3 scheme.”