The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has announced the opening of the Results-Based Environment-Agri Pilot Project (REAP).
This pilot is one of the transitional measures for Irish farming using the additional funding the minister secured this year for environmental initiatives.
According to the DAFM, the scheme is “designed to pilot some measures now for possible inclusion later under the next CAP measures for Ireland from 2023 onwards”.
‘Key new income to farmers’
Commenting at the launch, Minister McConalogue said, “REAP is an ambitious, innovative and exciting new pilot programme.”
“My very clear aim coming into 2021 for farming and the environment was two-fold – to roll over our existing agri-environment schemes to give farmers certainty and pilot new initiatives.”
“I’m hugely excited about this REAP project as it helps us and farmers identify the value we can bring to our next national agri-environmental scheme by trialling some measures now.“
“It will identify the environmental and biodiversity returns from specific farm measures while delivering a key new income to farmers.”
“It’s the first time we have scaled up results-based environmental farming to this level and it will help incentivise farmers to deliver for the environment by ensuring that those with the best environmental scores receive the highest pay.
The project will also support farm incomes by providing up to €12,600 to participating farms over the two-year term of their REAP contract.”
REAP – how will it work?
Land brought into REAP will be scored in year one to establish its environmental and biodiversity status.
In conjunction with their advisor, farmers will undertake environmental improvement works to increase the environmental value of existing farm features to improve the environmental score in year two. Farms with the highest-scoring will receive the greatest payment.
Farmers can expect to receive an average annual payment of up to €4,700, with a maximum payment of €6,900 available.
Maximum payment is dependent on a farmer complying with all the detailed criteria as outlined in the terms and conditions of the scheme.
“REAP will provide an opportunity to test the results based model on a national basis in preparation for the next agri-environment scheme to follow on from GLAS,” the DAFM said in a statement.
Achieve environmental ambition
The minister concluded, “This measure complements very well the existing agri-environment measures such as GLAS, Organics and EIPs, all of which we have continued in 2021 to give farmers certainty during this transitional period.”
“I secured an 11% increase in the Department’s funding as part of Budget 2021 to ensure that GLAS could continue for those farmers while delivering innovative pilot measures such as REAP.”
“This record level of investment in on-farm agri-environment measures show the commitment of this government to achieving our goals of achieving our environmental ambition while investing in farm incomes.”
“I would encourage any eligible farmer to apply and look forward to working with all stakeholders on this initiative as we develop our schemes for the next CAP,” he concluded.