Applications to the new flagship €1.5bn agri-environmental scheme that will replace GLAS will open this summer.
The Agri-Environment Climate Measure (AECM) will be a results-based scheme and will offer a maximum payment of €7,300 to farmers generally and €10,500 to those that adopt cooperation projects in high priority geographical areas.
Addressing the INHFA AGM in Carrick-on-Shannon last week, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said his priority was to get the new scheme “up and running” and ruled out a further rollover of GLAS.
“My Department officials have been engaging with consultants trying to manage that and plan for it [the new scheme], and make sure the capacity is there,” said Minister McConalogue.
“We haven’t got approval yet from Europe for the CAP plan...but we will be launching it anyway on the basis that we need to get moving on it.
“Our objective is that all the schemes will be running from the start of next year and applications will be opening over the summer.”
Meanwhile, INHFA President Vincent Roddy asked the minister to go back to Cabinet to seek a further increase to the CAP budget of at least €150m a year.
“With such an increase, we can accommodate 70,000 farmers in the AECM — an increase of 20,000 from what is being proposed,” Mr Roddy said.