Farmers in Mayo have welcomed the reopening of the AEOS scheme and expect the majority of eligible farmers to sign up to the scheme.
The Agri-Environmental Options Scheme (AEOS) has been reopened to new entrants with a maximum of €4,000 per annum available for individual applicants under the scheme. Chairman of Mayo IFA, Padraig Joyce welcomed the re-opening of the scheme which he said was very important for farmers in the west of Ireland.
“This scheme is very welcome especially for farmers here in the west of Ireland. The IFA have lobbied a long time on this and it is fruitful for the IFA that we are getting the scheme up and running again and we are grateful to the Minister [for Agriculture, Simon Coveney].
We were confident it would have reopened because it is a very good scheme and number of farmers here in Mayo depend on it. I have not read the small print to the new scheme but I expect it to be similar to AEOS 2 and most farmers coming out of REPS 3 will join this scheme,” Padraig told The Mayo News.
The Ministers announcement was also welcomed by Mayo TD John O’Mahony who said the scheme will be similar to previous years but that there will be some minor changes which are designed to target increased benefits to both participating farmers and the environment.
He explained that 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.
“The scheme will build on the success of both the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) and both AEOS 1 and 2 in delivering an annual income to farmers in return for farming to high environmental standards. Both REPS and AEOS have been of immense benefit to Mayo farmers and I am delighted that the Minister has decided to re-open this scheme and welcome in new applicants,” he said.
Deputy O’Mahony encouraged all farmers intending to apply for participation in the Scheme to look carefully at all of the information available to ensure that their applications are completed properly.
Speaking from the National Ploughing Championships in Wexford, Mr Joyce added that he called on the Minister for Agriculture to announce a continuation of the Suckler Welfare Scheme. He said the scheme which is in its final year had brought about benefits in the research of breeds in the beef sector and also in animal welfare and should be continued.
Mr Walsh also called on farmers in Mayo to attend and support the IFA’s Day of Action in support of farm families in Dublin on October 9.
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