Details of the new Results-based, Environmental-Agri Pilot Project (REAP) have been trickling out over the last number of days following meetings between farm organisations and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Agriland understands that the pilot will open for applications in the coming days and will close for applications on May 10.
It is understood that farmers themselves will not make the applications. Agricultural advisors will make the applications on the farmer’s behalf, with each advisor being limited to 10 farmer applications.
Following this, the advisor will assess the applicants land, with advisor and farmer working together to determine what actions are suitable.
Farmers will receive a flat participation payment of €1,200. After that, there will be a results-based environmental payment that will be linked to an assessment.
REAP environmental payment
The environmental payment will be paid for low-input grassland (LIG) and/or multi-species ley (MSL). Farmer can avail of both types of environmental payment in a ‘hybrid model’ or stick to just one type of payment.
Either way, payments are subject to an upper limit of 10ha (or 20ha in partnerships of two persons, or 30ha in partnerships of three persons, with payment being multiplied by the number of partners up to three).
The two types of environmental payments are subject to different upper limits €400/ha for LIG; and €275 for MSL.
The exact rate of payment to be received for each individual farmer is determined by a scorecard.
Environmental payment scorecards
Regardless of the type of environmental payment chosen, assessments will be carried out by advisors and marks out of 10 will be issued to farmers for each individual field.
It is understood that scores for LIG will be issued at the end of July, while scores for MSL will be issued in mid-August.
The score (out of 10) corresponds to a rate of payment (however, the lowest score for which a payment can be made is four; in other words, farmers will not receive payment for scores of one, two or three).
The scores and related rates for LIG is as follows:
Score 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 <4 Rate/ha €400 €375 €350 €325 €300 €275 €250 0
Apart from the rates outlined above, a bonus payment of €50/ha for late meadow cutting (between July and August) is available where the LIG environmental payment is chosen.
The scores and related rates for MSL are as follows:
Score 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 <4 Rate/ha €275 €250 €225 €200 €175 €150 €125 0
How scores will be assessed
Fields will be assessed by advisors on three criteria, as follows:
- Ecological integrity (species richness, quantity, cover and structure for LIG; and number of species sown/present and structure for MSL);
- Field margins (width and density per hectare);
- Field boundary (Density per hectare of hedgerows and stonewalls and quality of management).
Separately from the environmental payment, farmers will also be able to undertake complementary actions in the first year of the scheme, with an additional €1,200 available per holding.
These actions include tree planting (paid at a rate of €9.20 per tree); and hedgerow planting or infilling of gaps (paid at a rate of €15.80/m).
Potentially, this would allow farmers plant a maximum of 130 trees, or plant/infill 76m of hedgerow.
Maximum payments under REAP
Considering all that, the payments can be divided into three categories:
- Participation payment (€1,200 flat payment);
- Results-based environmental payment:
- Between €250 and €400 per hectare of LIG (with option of €50/ha late meadows payment), subject to a maximum of 10ha;
- Between €125 and €275 per hectare of MSL, subject to a maximum of 10ha;
- Complementary action payment (subject to a maximum payment per holding of €1,200):
- Tree planting at a rate of €9.20 per tree;
- Hedgerow planting/infilling at a rate of €15.80/m.
It is understood that payments under the scheme will issue in December.
The REAP scheme is expected to run for two years (2021 and 2022) before the start of the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2023, at which point a more expansive ‘flagship environmental scheme’ is expected to begin for which REAP is a ‘trial run’.
Stay tuned to Agriland for more on the new REAP scheme.