Some 10,700 farmers have applied to join the €10m Results-based Environmental Agri Pilot (REAP).
There are only 2,000 places available in the pilot scheme, with the scheme totally oversubscribed.
Under the scheme, farmers can earn up to €12,600 over the two-year term of the scheme.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told the Irish Farmers Journal that some 10,700 farmers applied before Monday’s deadline with beef farmers representing over 63% of applicants, sheep farmers 15%, mixed farmers representing nearly 14% and dairy farmers representing nearly 7% of all applicants.
I am heartened and encouraged
While 8,000 farmers will miss out on the scheme, the minister confirmed that the numbers are limited to 2,000 but that all avenues are being explored.
“I am heartened and encouraged by the popularity of REAP – it shows the meaningful way in which farmers engaged with it.
“REAP is an example of the partnership approach that the Government wants to take with farmers in addressing climate change and biodiversity challenges.
I will be exploring all avenues to see if it is possible to accommodate more farmers
“REAP will perform an important role in informing the development of the new, much larger agri-environmental flagship scheme that will commence with the new CAP in 2023.
“From the outset, I made it clear that REAP is a pilot so we were limited on the numbers we could take into the initiative – somewhere in the region of 2,000 farmers.
“I will be exploring all avenues to see if it is possible to accommodate more farmers but there are constraints around the numbers that can be involved.”