Kirwan Agriconsultants Ltd.
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 30th November 2012.
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 20 million is much smaller than previous years, it is expected that between 6 and 7 thousand farmers will be accepted into the scheme.
Priority will be given to farmers with a minimum of 0.5ha of SAC, SPA or Commonage land, but this land must be eligible for SPS payments, in other words bog etc. will not qualify. The remaining places will be given on a priority basis, based on a ranking system which gives priority to former REPS participants, farmers in a disadvantaged area and smaller farmers.
Farmers who participated in REPS 3 will be familiar with many of the options. The options available are:
1. Species Rich Grassland (known as traditional grazing)
2 Traditional Hay Meadows
3. Establishment and Maintenance of Habitats
4. Wild Bird Cover (known as LINNET)
5. Riparian Margins (Fencing off a strip along the river)
6. Animal Genetic Resources (known as rare breeds)
7. Tree Planting (Standard)
8. Tree Planting (Quicks)
9. Hedgerow Coppicing
10. Hedgerow Laying
11. Traditional Dry Stonewall Maintenance
12. New Hedgerow Planting
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. Water Trough Installation
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 holdings which actually have a dry stone wall!
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 and there are rules and regulations as to what combinations of options are allowed. 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. Also due to the limited budget there is no guarantee of your application being accepted.
The application forms, terms & conditions and the specifications are available on the Dept of Agriculture’s website www.agriculture.gov.ie and comprise of 119 pages.
Alternatively you can contact Kirwan Agri Consultants at 057 91 25410, www.agriconsultants.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org