AEOS 3 to kick off in Boora Bog
Farmers in the Boora area of Co Offaly are to be given top priority in the new AEOS 3 scheme, it has emerged.
The area is home to Ireland's last remaining wild grey partridge population.
Draft details of the new AEOS scheme, seen by the Farming Independent, stipulate that farmers in the Boora area are to be ranked first in priority for the scheme.
Next in line for entry will be farmers with a Natura habitat of more than 0.5ha, followed by farmers with non-Natura commonage or a mixed Natura and non-Natura commonage over 0.5ha in size.
Moving down the ranking, farmers who previously participated in REPS, smaller farms and farms located in Less Favoured Areas will be given priority in the scheme.
The deadline for applications to the AEOS 3 scheme will be November 30, 2012, according to the draft, with the scheme due to commence in April 2013. Contracts will run for at least five years.
The annual fund of €20m for AEOS 3 has a maximum payment of €4,000 per annum per farmer.
It is expected that up to 6,000 farmers could be accepted into AEOS 3.