Capping of payments a possibility in reforms
The capping of direct payments to individual farmers and the introduction of mandatory environmental measures are among the most radical elements included in a leaked Commission communication on CAP reform.
The paper, which has been seen by the Farming Independent, seems to rule out the imposition of a flat rate single farm payment (SFP) across the EU but states that a "more equitable distribution" of the CAP budget is needed.
The proposals suggest that an "upper ceiling" should be introduced for direct payments to individual farm enterprises so as to "improve the distribution of payments among farmers".
The document states that allowance would be made for large farm enterprises which provide high employment.
However, the level of any payments ceiling or how it would be calculated are not set out in the paper.
Due to the loss of employment opportunities in many rural areas, the paper proposes that small farmers should receive a minimum level of direct payments.
The SFP is expected to include a basic payment to serve as income support. There would also be an additional top-up for specific and mandatory environmental measures.
This "greening" component would require farmers to take annual agri-environmental actions. These could include a number of options such as crop rotation, ecological setaside or the use of green cover.