The Minister for Agriculture Food and Marine Simon Coveney has said that he anticipates that the balancing 25% of AEOS 3 payments will commence shortly, for all of those applicants whose files are in order.

Responding to a parliamentary question this week he said that all area-based schemes under the Rural Development Programme, 2007-13, are subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications, including cross checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, to be completed before payments can be issued.

He added that these rigorous procedures, together with on-farm inspections, apply to a number of scheme payments including the Agri-environment Options Scheme (AEOS), and are necessary to ensure that applications meet the scheme conditions and cross-compliance requirements.

The administrative checks have been completed and 75% payments are well under way with payments issuing on a continuous basis until all payments are complete.

There are currently 5,963 farmers in AEOS 3, bringing the total number taking part in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme to around 20,000. The Department, in 2012 it allocated €20 million to fund the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) with a maximum payment of €4,000 per annum.