Farms 'will lose out' in eco scheme
FARMERS say they will have to do more to get less under an eco-friendly farming scheme.
Up to 10,000 farmers will get a maximum of €5,000 a year each for committing to environmentally friendly methods under the new €50m-a-year Agri Environment Options Scheme, launched by Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith.
It replaces the Rural Environment Protection Scheme, which was closed to new entrants last year after it attracted a record number of applicants availing of average payments of €6,200, but reaching €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.
Mr Smith said the scheme was required by the EU, and would cut tape, as most farmers would no longer have to submit costly environmental plans.