AEOS and REPS payments are to commence immediately, according to the Minister for Agriculture, and in excess of €93 million will be paid out before the end of the year.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney made the announcement and said that these payments are being made following the completion of detailed verification checks by his Department, which are required under EU regulations.

He said agri-environment schemes such as AEOS and REPS are important components in the support of farmers who have undertaken a variety of measures which reflect the increasing concern for conservation, landscape protection and wider environmental issues.

The schemes are designed to help protect wildlife habitats, endangered species of flora and fauna and the broader rural environment and underpin the production of quality food in an environmentally friendly manner, the Minister said.

“This will bring the total payments under these two schemes for 2014 to more than €176 million in total. This is a key component in the overall support package for Irish farmers and for the valuable indigenous agri-food industry.”

In addition to REPS and AEOS payments issuing this week over 118,000 farmers have also received the balance of their SFP payments. Minister Coveney also said that while over €1.1 billion in payments have been made under the SFP in 2014, this represents 97% of all cases eligible for payment.