Farm organisations livid at cuts outlined in new AEOS proposals
Drastically reduced payment rates in the proposed new Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) have provoked an angry reaction from farm organisations.
The scheme has a budget of €50m annually. This comprises €119m from modulation, €15m from the European Economic Recovery Fund and the remainindercoming from the national exchequer. It will deliver a maximum payment of €5,000 annually for 10,000 farmers.
Hill and commonage farmers have been badly hit, with payment reductions in the order of 70pc, compared to the REPS schemes that currently exist.
However, payments to the majority of farmers are likely to be significantly reduced under the scheme.
IFA president John Bryan insisted that farmers must be in a position to get an average payment of €5,000 with reduced compliance costs, instead of a maximum of €5,000.
Rural development chairman Tom Turley maintained that farmers would be very angry that their payment levels would be reduced under the new scheme.
"Hill and SAC [special area of conservation] farmers who have to comply with ongoing, huge environmental restrictions placed on their lands must get higher payments," he insisted.
His sentiments were echoed by ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin, who said the scheme involved too much cost for too little return.