Dissatisfaction over AEOS is not a surprise
Initial reports from farm consultants would suggest farmer reaction to the new Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) is lukewarm.
The scheme was launched by the Department of Agriculture last Wednesday, around the same time as the NAMA announcement -- hardly a coincidence you'd have to suspect.
There was nothing in the package that hadn't already been flagged as the Department stuck to its guns on the maximum payment limit of €5,000 and a membership limit of 10,000.
Both of these measures were informed by the Government's desire to keep the scheme's spending tight.
However, if farm advisers are to be believed, then the Department is unlikely to have much trouble here.
The immediate reaction from commercial farmers appears to be that the scheme is not worth the hassle.
Too many actions need to be undertaken to get anywhere near a worthwhile payment from AEOS. Joining the scheme will also bring its own restrictions -- and possibly further inspections.
Given the success of REPS, it will be disappointing if farmers turn away from a widespread engagement with environmental issues.