Over €11 million in Disadvantaged payments to issue to Clare Farmers and AEOS Scheme re-opened – BREEN.

September 25th, 2012 - Pat Breen

Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade has welcomed the news that Clare Farmers will start receiving their Disadvantaged Payments from today. He also welcomed the allocation of €20 million in funding which will see new applications accepted for the AEOS Scheme.

“The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney T.D. has confirmed that Disadvantaged payments worth €154 million will be issued from today with 4,725 Clare Farmers set to receive €11,590,910.44 in payments.”

“The initial run of payments, worth €154 million to 74,000 farmers, includes a sizeable number (3,750) being made to farmers who successfully applied for derogation from the revised stocking density requirement, included as part of the range of technical adjustments necessitated by budgetary requirement. The Minister had given a commitment to have a system in place to consider derogation applications from farmers who could show that their inability to reach the revised stocking level of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare in 2011 was due to circumstances outside their control and I pleased to note that the processing of these appeals has not negatively impacted on achieving the payments targets and that the level of payments set to issue this week compares very favourably with previous year.”

“This news will come as some relief to farmers who are struggling at the moment as a result of the bad weather. There were times this summer when farmers could not even travel their land and where cattle had to be rehoused and this announcement by Minister Coveney that DAS payments are issuing as well as his confirmation that €20 million in funding will be provided to reopen the AEOS Scheme is good news for Clare farmers and an acknowledgement by the Minister of the difficulties which farmers are facing and I would like to complement him for providing this funding especially during these difficult economic times.”

“Last July, I met with representatives of the IFA in Clare when I pledged to work with them to lobby the Agriculture Minister to reopen the scheme, particularly given that the scale of applications in the current schemes which indicated the need for the AEOS. 650 Clare farmers have completed REPS 3 with a further 1,333 Clare farmers will be finishing REPS4 in 2013 and 2014 while 750 Clare farmers have applied for AEOS 1 and 2.

“Today, Minister Coveney has announced funding of €20 million and the reopening of the AEOS for new applicants. I understand that under the new Scheme a maximum of €4,000 per annum will apply to individual applications under the reopened scheme and it is anticipated that up to 6,000 new applications can be accepted into the Scheme. The Scheme will be similar to previous years but there will be some minor changes which are designed to target increased benefits to participating farmers and the environment.”
As in earlier years, farmers with commonage land, designated Special Areas of Conservation or Special Protection Areas will be required to follow a ‘Sustainable Management Plan’ prepared by a planner. However, those applicants will be given priority in determining access to the scheme. Applicants other than those requiring a sustainable management plan will not be required to engage a planner to complete their application form. In addition to the priority which will be given to designated land, the Minister said that applicants would be assessed on the basis of selection criteria reflecting previous participation in REPS, farm size and location in Disadvantaged Areas. Full details of the Scheme will become available in the coming days.
“Full details of the AEOS scheme will become available in the coming days and I would encourage farmers intending to apply for participation in the Scheme to look carefully at all of the information before applying so as to ensure that their applications are completed properly.”