The Chairman of the ICMSA Farm Services and Environment Committee, Patrick Rohan, has called on Minister Coveney to immediately announce his position on the provision of a new AEOS scheme to ensure that the 23,000 farmers whose REPS 3 contracts have expired are provided with a suitable environmental scheme.
Mr Rohan pointed out that many of these farmers have been in REPS since its inception in 1994 and are committed to environmental farming practices. ICMSA believes that it is crucial adequate funding is provided for a new AEOS scheme and that all farmers are given an opportunity to avail of this scheme.
Mr. Rohan stated that there is only weeks left to the May 15 Single Farm Payment deadline which has also been the deadline for AEOS applications, and that farmers must be given adequate time to assess the scheme’s suitability for their enterprise. He said that farmers contemplating application must have an opportunity to work with planners - if necessary – because there have been considerable problems due to rushed AEOS applications that have resulted in significant delays to payments.
“Both farmers and the environment will benefit greatly from the introduction of a properly funded AEOS scheme and it’s nearly as important that the Minister dispel the uncertainty and confusion around his intentions. It is incumbent upon the Minister to state his intentions regarding the AEOS scheme that all parties concerned are convinced is both desirable and necessary”, concluded the well known South Kerry farmer and farmer advocate.