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Kirwan Agriconsultants Ltd.

17 Emmet St, Birr, Co. Offaly                                                  

Phone: 057 9125410 / 057 9169816

Email: info@agriconsultants.com

Monamolin, Gorey, Co. Wexford

Phone: 053 9389807

Email: wexford@agriconsultants.com Kirwan Agri

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Article for April 2011

New AEOS open for farmers

The new AEOS or Agri Environmental Options Scheme for farmers who are not currently in REPS has now opened for applications. The closing date is 16th May 2011.

Payments of up to E4000 per annum are available to qualifying farmers who undertake to carry out a selected number of operations on their farm for five years. Although this year’s budget at 25 million is much smaller than previous years, it is expected that between 7 and 8 thousand farmers will be accepted into the scheme.

Priority will be given to farmers with SAC, SPA or Commonage land, regardless of whether this is bog, callow, river margin, esker etc. The remaining places will be given on a priority basis, based on a ranking system which allocates points for each measure being undertaken on the farm. In the event that further selection is required priority will then be given to farmers in disadvantaged areas who were previously in REPS. From an environmentalist’s point of view the scheme is well designed as the responsibility is on farmers to select as many options as possible regardless of individual financial value, in order to maximise the number of points scored.

Farmers who participated in REPS 3 will be familiar with many of the options. The options available are:

1.       Establishment and maintenance of new grassland habitats

2.        Tree planting and management

3.       Traditional hay meadows

4.       Species rich grassland (known as traditional grazing)

5.       Animal genetic resources ( known as rare breeds)

6.       Wild bird cover( known as LINNET)

7.       Hedgerow coppicing

8.       Hedgerow planting

9.       Hedgerow laying

10.    Traditional dry stonewall maintenance

11.    Riparian margins(Fencing off a strip along the river)

12.    Water trough installation

13.    Arable margins, on tillage land

14.    Green cover establishment, on tillage land

15.    Minimum tillage

16.    Use of New Technologies for slurry spreading

17.    Corncrake sites

The payment rate varies for each option and for some options, e.g. hedge planting is divided into a basic payment plus a capital payment. In order to claim this capital payment it will be necessary to provide receipts for items such as fence wire, stakes etc.

Applicants are required to select a minimum of two options from the above.  However there are complex regulations regarding different combinations of options which may or may not be selected jointly. There is no maximum to the number of options chosen but some for example no’s 13,14 and 15 are only suited to tillage farms while others e.g. stone wall maintenance will only apply to a small number of holdings in this area.

The options are divided into three groups, under the headings Biodiversity, Water Quality and Climate Change. They are further divided within each group into Mandatory, Complementary and Additional options. The ranking system for each option will depend on the group which an applicant targets and then on the combinations selected.

Entrance to the scheme is NOT dependant on your farm size, enterprise  or stocking rate.

As per all farm schemes nowadays it is essential to submit an SPS or (area aid) application each year, farms will be subject to inspection and penalties for non compliance will apply.

The application forms, terms & conditions and the specifications are available on the Dept of Agriculture’s website www.agriculture.gov.ie and comprise of 110 pages. Alternatively you can contact Kirwan Agri Consultants at 057 91 25410, www.agriconsultants.com, or email james@agriconsultants.com

 

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