No new agri environmental scheme for 2014.There will be no new environmental scheme for 2014. The Minister for Agriculture has ruled out any new package until the CAP comes into effect from January 2105. While this is a disappointment it is not a big surprise. Aside from any financial considerations the Dept. of Agriculture would have been reluctant to get involved with any multi annual scheme at this stage in the CAP cycle.
What is needed now is an assurance that the rules of any new scheme are published as soon as is practical after the Rural Development Plan is approved in Brussels. And that an application period for the new agri-environmental scheme opens in the second half of 2014, even if contracts are not to begin until January 2015. The danger is that this will not happen and that the application window will be short and will not open until spring 2015. This would repeat the mistakes of AEOS 1 and 2 and would ensure that farmers would not get a full years agri-environment payment until late 2016 at the earliest and possibly as late as 2017. This would defeat the whole point of the Pillar II measures within the CAP and would leave many commonage farmers without a meaningful agri-environment payment for more than 3 years.