There are three main changes to the scheme. The first relates to stocking density where livestock production is involved. Previously, to qualify for payment under the measure farmers had to reach a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per hectare over the total forage area of the farm. Under the new rules, the minimum stocking level to be achieved for payment is 0.5 of a livestock unit on the entire farm, and payment will bepro rata at a rate of 0.5 livestock units per hectare. This new arrangement will allow for payment to small producers while giving them an opportunity to increase their stocking rate.
The second change is that if, during the course of a five year commitment, a participant elects to convert his or her farm to organic production methods then this change shall be deemed to constitute grounds for the transformation of the existing commitment into a new five year commitment as provided for under Article 20 of Commission Regulation 1750/1999. The practical effect of this change is that farmers participating in REPS who wish to convert to organic production methods can enter into a new five year plan in order to be eligible for payment under the supplementary measure.