Farmers hostile to eco-friendly scheme
FARMERS say they will have to do more to get less under a new eco-friendly farming scheme.
Up to 10,000 farmers will get a maximum of €5,000 a year each for committing to environmentally friendly farming methods under the new €50m-a-year Agri Environment Options Scheme, launched by Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith.
The scheme replaces the Rural Environment Protection Scheme, which was controversially closed to new entrants last year after it attracted a record number of applicants availing of average payments of €6,200, but reaching as much as €15,000 on some farms.
The Irish Farmers Association President John Bryan said farmers would be very disappointed their payments would be less than in the past.
However, Mr Smith defended the new approach, which he said was required by the EU, and would also reduce red tape, as most farmers would no longer have to submit detailed environmental plans which had cost many over €1000 in the past.