IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately accept as many as possible of the 9,600 farmers who have applied for AEOS 3, into the scheme.
Mr McCarthy said with around 4,600 Natura farmers the top priority under the selection criteria, it leaves a further 5,000 left in a very uncertain situation. While farmers who have left the REPS scheme are the next priority group, a high percentage are likely to fall into this category and must be allowed into the scheme.
“Many of these farmers have seen their income drastically reduced since their REPS plan finished combined with the serious losses incurred as a result of the recent fodder crisis. It is vital that they become eligible for the AEOS 3 scheme.”
The IFA Chairman said that it is also important the start-up date for plans is 1st April last as already many of these farmers have been without agri-environment payments for some time. It is possible to start plans from 1st April if the Department notify the farmers during the month of April.