Kirwan Agriconsultants Ltd.
Article for September
It is very rare that unexpected correspondence from the Department of Agriculture brings good news. And so it was with some trepidation that we read a circular from the REPS section of the Department announcing training courses for REPS planners to bring us up-to-date on REPS 4. The reason for our nervousness was that some weeks ago an ACA delegation was told that there was no need for training courses as there were no major differences between REPS 3 and REPS 4, other than some additional options and minor tweaks here and there. Since than it seems that Brussels have had their say and some considerable differences have now appeared between REPS 3 and REPS 4. These mainly relate to the number of options a farmer must choose. Prior to this we had presumed 2 options, one from each category, would have been sufficient. However it now appears that there are quite a number of situations where farmers would have to take a third option and believe it or not in many cases a fourth option if they wish to participate in REPS 4 and earn the extra payment involved and earn seems the operative word here.
Briefly the main categories of farmers who will require extra options are: first of all those requiring Nitrates derogations, secondly those who feel that they cannot produce or grow tillage crops using only 70% of the recommended fertiliser, thirdly those who have less than 100m or equivalent in stone wall of hedgerow per hectare for example the farmer with under 40 Ha with less than 4000m of hedgerow and fourthly those farmers who have less than 1% of their land under habitat (excluding hedgerows, SAC and NHA’s etc).In addition all farmers wishing to transfer from REPS 3 to REPS 4 will have to complete their obligations under REPS 3 in addition to whatever new options they take on in REPS 4
These courses are currently being run so I hope to have mor information for my next article
Next week sees the National Ploughing Championship been held once again in Offaly. While this years event is held in North Offaly If it is half the success that the 1997 event held in Rath, in South Offaly was , it will be everyone’s worth their while, farmer and non farmer attending. All readers are very welcome to visit our stand at row G, no 209. We will be having a draw for a free set of soil samples, open to all visitors and we will also be conducting a survey on farmers knowledge on How the Nitrates Directive affects them? We will be also launching our up dated website at the ploughing. We launched this website back in 1999 when there were very few Agricultural related websites and whilst it was quite modern in its day, it has in recent years fallen into disrepair. Thanks to our friends in Dotser.ie it is now up and running and we hope it will provide a starting point for farmers and others seeking information on the various farmer related EU schemes. Any suggestions from the readers regarding how the website might become more user friendly and more relevant to farmers would be gratefully received. See you all next week.