There has been much discussion surrounding the introduction of a major agri-environmental scheme in 2023, with many farmers hoping for a financially rewarding ‘new REPS’.
Much of the debate has been on payment rates and how much of the Government’s carbon tax will be committed to funding it.
The Department is targeting a total of 50,000 farmers for the new scheme
Neither of these questions are answered in the Department’s consultation document, which only highlights that payments will be influenced directly by the actions selected.
Results-based actions are said to be capable of achieving higher results.
The Department is targeting a total of 50,000 farmers for the new scheme.
Farmers located in what are described as “co-operation areas”, which are essentially specific areas with a high environmental value, will also be eligible to receive additional payments for farm/landscape-type actions. The document says these areas are currently being defined.
The scheme will be open to all active farmers and entry to the scheme will be determined through a ranking and selection process.
It is envisaged that there will be local or area-specific measures
Priority access will be given to organic farmers, farmers with priority assets such as being located in a critical source area for water or priority habitats, and farmers who agree to undertake specific priority actions.
It is envisaged that there will be local or area-specific measures that build on the success of the Burren Programme and the European Innovation Partnership – AGRI Groups delivered under the RDP 2014-2020.
It is proposed that the co-operation element “will support a landscape approach for the management and restoration of priority habitat/species, carbon storage, water quality, and biodiversity through improved land management and resilience. It is also expected to positively impact on problems facing these landscapes, for example landslides, flooding, mountain fires, management of commonages, invasive species, predator control, etc.”
Significant tree-planting measures will be included, including agro-forestry and riparian planting. Mandatory planting of broadleaf trees on some farms may also be included.