Anxiety at plans to overhaul SFP system
New CAP reforms will shape EU payments until 2019
Farmers are anxiously awaiting the EU's formal proposals tomorrow on the details of the CAP reforms that are destined to shape EU farm payments until 2019.
However, documents seen by the Farming Independent indicate that much of what Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos has already outlined remains in the final draft. These include:
•30pc of the budget being ring-fenced for environmental measures.
•2014 is set to be the reference year for calculating payments to farmers for the subsequent five years. The only caveat to this is that farmers must have submitted a Single Farm Payment (SFP) claim this year to qualify for the reference year calculation.
•Active farmers will be those whose SFP is equal to at least 5pc of their total non-farming earnings. The exception to this rule will be all farmers who received a SFP of less than €5,000 in the previous year. In addition, active farmers will be required to "carry out a minimum activity to be established by member states" on their farms.
•A move to flat-rate payments within member states by 2019.
One of the items that had created most discussion among officials in Brussels in the lead up to Commissioner Ciolos' presentation to the Parliament tomorrow was the stipulation that the same basic SFP rate will be paid to farmers in every member state by 2028.
However, this now looks to have been deleted from the final document. A large disparity still exists between the average payments per hectare in the eastern and western Member States. Ireland's average SFP of €270/ha is more than double that of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.