Leitrim IFA Rural Development Chairperson, James Brennan, has urged the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to accept as many as possible of the 9,600 farmers who have applied for AEOS 3, into the scheme.
“With around 4,600 Natura farmers being the top priority under the selection criteria, it leaves a further 5,000 in a very uncertain situation. While farmers who have left the REPS scheme are the next priority group, nevertheless a high percentage are likely to fall into this category and must be allowed into the scheme. Many of these farmers have seen their income drastically reduced since their REPS plan finished and it is vital they become eligible for AEOS 3,” he told the Leitrim Observer.
The Leitrim IFA Rural Development Chairperson said that it is also vitally important that all farmers who have applied should receive an acknowledgement from the Department of Agriculture and the start-up date for plans at the earliest opportunity. Minister Coveney must start plans on the 1st March as already many of the farmers have been without agri-environment payments for some time.
Meanwhile, he called for the speedier payment of all outstanding AEOS 2 payments.
“It is frustrating that farmer payments are being held up for the most spurious of reasons. In some cases a small area aid discrepancy of 0.1ha is holding up the whole payment. This must be resolved forthwith and all payment made without delay,” he added.