The Department of Agriculture should immediately clarify the reasons why individual farmers were excluded from the Results Based Environment Agri Pilot Programme (REAP), chair of Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association's (ICMSA) farm and rural affairs committee Denis Drennan has said.

“There were almost 11,000 applicants for the scheme and with 5,000 farmers being accepted, there are obviously a lot of disappointed farmers and that disappointment is being compounded by the fact that they are still unaware of the reason why their applications were not accepted,” Drennan said.

“This is simply unfair on the farmers in question and ICMSA believes that the Department should write to each individual farmer clearly outlining the reason for his or her exclusion from the scheme.

“This information is obviously important so that farmers understand the reason for their exclusion and, just as importantly, can consider their options for future schemes”, said Drennan

Environmental popularity

The level of applications to the scheme highlights farmers’ willingness to engage in environmental initiatives, according to Drennan.

“We have Green Deal, Farm-to-Fork and various other biodiversity strategies, but we’re going to need the EU and our Government to match their policies to the appropriate levels of funding required to translate these initiatives into practice,” Drennan said.

“A good starting point for this would be to review upwards again the number of participants in REAP and show real commitment to matching and accommodating farmer efforts and interest on the environment.”