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Minister Smith Invites Submissions on New Agri-Environment Scheme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today invited stakeholders to make submissions about the detailed contents of a new agri-environmental scheme which will be introduced in 2010. Funding for the new scheme will include the additional modulation funds which Minister Smith ensured would stay with Irish farmers in the recent negotiations on the CAP 'Health Check' and also exchequer funding.

An outline of the scheme has already been sent to the European Commission as part of a set of proposals for an amended Rural Development Programme. This followed an earlier consultation exercise about the use of the modulation funds.

"The new scheme will consist of a 'menu' of actions from which farmers can select options that will be suitable for their particular farms and farming systems," Minister Smith said.  "The outline I have sent to the Commission consists mostly of elements that will be familiar to farmers as elements of REPS, such as biodiversity options and supplementary measures."

The EU Regulations identify certain 'challenges' for which modulation money must be used. These include climate change, renewable energies, water management and biodiversity.

"The outline of the new scheme that has gone to the Commission was designed to target these challenges," Minister Smith explained.  "I am now inviting stakeholders to comment on the detailed elements of the scheme and to put forward ideas that could be incorporated in the scheme to help deliver benefits in terms of water quality, biodiversity and climate change." 

Note for editors

The outline for the new scheme which has been submitted to the European Commission is available on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/farmingschemesandpayments/ruralenvironmentprotectionschemereps/Agri%20environment%20measure%202010%202013.pdf.   

Paper copies can be obtained from the REPS Policy Unit, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford (Lo-Call 1890 200 509).

The deadline for submissions is 4 September. Submissions should be sent if possible by email to repspolicy@agriculture.gov.ie or else by post to the REPS Policy Unit, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford.

Date Released: 10 August 2009