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Minister Coughlan Announces Flexible Arrangements To Help Farmers To Move Over To Reps 4

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., has confirmed that REPS 3 farmers who want to switch over to REPS 4 will now have two months after their anniversary dates to submit REPS 4 plans. Up to now, farmers moving over to REPS 4 before their existing contracts were finished would have had to get their REPS 4 applications in before their anniversary dates.

"Getting the Commission to clear REPS 4 took a bit longer than we had hoped," Minister Coughlan said,"so it was early August before I could launch the new Scheme. At that stage we still had to finalise all the documentation, and much work had to be done to update the eREPS system which planners use to prepare the maps.

"Under the old rules, many farmers with REPS 3 anniversaries in the months after the launch of the new Scheme who might have hoped to move over to REPS 4 would have had some difficulty in having REPS 4 plans prepared and submitted to the Department before their anniversaries. I have brought in the new rule to give them more breathing space" explained the Minister.

REPS 4 offers payment rates 17% higher than the previous Scheme, with a wider range of biodiversity options and supplementary measures. It will also be open, for the first time, to farmers operating above 170 kg of organic nitrogen to the hectare as long as they secure a derogation under the Nitrates Regulations.

16 October, 2007

Date Released: 16 October 2007