25th September, 2012
President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association Gabriel Gilmartin has welcomed the announcement of the re-opening of the Agri-environmental Options Scheme (AEOS) announced today by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD – but says the provisions of the scheme do not go far enough to constitute real support.
Minister Coveney has announced that his Department will be providing €20million for the AEOS scheme, which will open shortly for applications. A maximum payment of €4,000 will apply.
Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Co. Wexford, Mr. Gilmartin said, “ICSA has been persistently calling for the re-opening of AEOS, but more importantly for a more meaningful agri-environment scheme, which is a vital support for cattle and sheep farmers. The scheme announced today simply will not fill the gap left by the closure of REPS. In particular, the maximum payment of €4,000 is simply not enough to allow farmers to achieve the targets of the scheme. Environmental measures are considered to be of ever-increasing importance at EU level, so I am extremely disappointed that the Department has not seen fit to put a meaningful support scheme in place to facilitate farming to a high environmental standard.”
“Furthermore, I want to stress that it will be absolutely crucial that the payments are made on time this year, especially with the dire situation many farmers find themselves in as a result of the severe weather conditions over the past few months.”