Dept shuts door on 2011 AEOS applications
There are no plans to re-open the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) to new applicants in 2011, the Department of Agriculture has insisted.
A spokesperson for the Department said the scheme was limited to 2010 applications and would not be available to farmers next year.
While exact figures for the total number of AEOS applications have still not been released by the Department, it is expected that the final figure will be well below the 10,000 limit set for the scheme.
Planners and Teagasc staff estimate that the final number of applicants is likely to be in the region of 8,000.
The Department indicated that 7,500 applications had been received in Johnstown Castle by last Friday but more are expected this week.
This will result in a significant under-spend of funds earmarked for the environmental package. A budget of €50m is available for the scheme, with applicants restricted to a maximum individual grant of €5,000.
Since the average payment is unlikely to exceed €4,500 and the number of entrants is forecast to be around 8,000, total expenditure on the AEOS is not expected to top €36m.