The details of the new Results Based Environment-Agri Pilot Project (REAP) have emerged, with Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue opening the scheme earlier today.
REAP is a transitional measure for Irish farming until the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is implemented in 2023, and is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Marine.
It is designed to pilot some measures for possible inclusion later in environment schemes as part of the next CAP in Ireland.
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 improvement works, to increase the environmental value of existing farm features, with the aim of improving the environmental score in year two.
Farms with the highest scoring will receive the greatest payment.
Participating farmers can expect to receive an average annual payment of up to €4,700 - the maximum payment is €6,900 and is conditional on a farmer complying with all the detailed criteria outlined in the terms and conditions of the scheme.
The results-based approach has the potential to deliver significant environmental and income gains, and is expected to feature strongly in flagship agri-environmental schemes, under the new CAP.
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.
“REAP is an ambitious, innovative and exciting new pilot programme,” said Minister McConalogue.
“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 to 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 trialing some measures now.
“It will identify the environmental and biodiversity returns from specific farm measures, while delivering a key new income to farmers over the two-year term of their REAP contract.
“The record level of investment in on-farm agri-environment measures shows the commitment of this government to achieving our goals with environmental ambition while investing in farm incomes.
“I would encourage any eligible farmer to apply and I look forward to working with all stakeholders on this initiative as we develop our schemes for the next CAP.”