IFA Rural Development Chairman Tom Turley has urged farmers who consider AEOS to be of value to them, to apply before the mid-May Single Farm Payment application date.
Mr Turley said the number so far interested in the scheme is not strong and varying reports are emerging from planners that only 50% of former REPS 3 farmers are looking at the scheme.
“It is now clear that this level of interest is reflective of the watered down AEOS scheme announced by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. The only way targets could possibly be achieved would be to restore the maximum payment of €5,000 and make the scheme more genuinely attractive to farmers,” he said.
Mr Turley said that due to the persistent low income, mainly on drystock farms, many farmers have no choice but to consider the watered down AEOS scheme to secure up to €4,000 for each of the next 5 years to underpin their incomes.
“The target of 8,000 farmers joining the scheme with an average payment of €3,200 can still be achieved if the necessary flexibilities are shown and improvements are made. This includes limits on certain measures being removed.”
“In order for farmers to assess the merits of the scheme, IFA is advising farmers to consult with Teagasc or their planners immediately,” he said.