The consultation process for the highly anticipated 'REPS 2' is to begin on Friday 29 January, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.
The confirmation came during a question and answer session at the IFA annual general meeting online on Thursday.
Minister McConalogue said: “The IFA's contribution will be really important. We want to ensure that the scheme is as practical as possible and delivers on its outcomes.
“It’s really important that we deliver incomes for farmers as well.”
Not just bogs
Speaking earlier in the day, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the programme for government commits to allocate €1.5bn from the carbon tax to “a REPS-2 programme to encourage and incentivise farmers to farm in a greener and more sustainable way.”
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon reassured that farmers across the country will benefit from the scheme, with funds not exclusive to the midlands.
“No offense to Pippa [Hackett] but it’s not just about Offaly and the bogs, farmers are directly as much to benefit from just transition as anybody.
“A really important element of securing the funding is the fact that it’s a scheme that will grow every year and the real key for us now is to ensure that it will be spent.”
IFA national rural development committee chair Michael Biggins said that it’s vital the scheme worth €79m is rolled out in 2021 with the end of January already in sight.
“We want this scheme to be accessible to new entrants to farming and the 3,000 who left AEOS in 2018. Those farmers can’t live on the premise of live horse and you’ll eat grass.
“The Minister must clarify how many farmers will have access to the scheme and what the payment rate will be. We’re looking for a minimum payment with bonuses for targets achieved in this results based scheme.”
IFA president Tim Cullinan concluded debate on the topic, calling for “a meaningful scheme, not some thought-up Mickey Mouse way to add value”.
A summary of the current proposal can be accessed here.
Submissions concerning the design and implementation of the pilot can be made via the online project survey.
The closing date for the receipt of views is Friday, 26 February.