Collective schemes to feature under new CAP environmental package
Projects involving a number of neighbouring farmers could be a feature of agri-environmental schemes under the new CAP package.
A new focus on co-operation in the European Commission regulations on Pillar 2 funding could see farmers working collectively to provide 'landscape' scale benefits to the environment, instead of individual farmers working in isolation.
This view was expressed by Trinity College professor Alan Matthews at the Teagasc Agri Environment conference on Thursday.
Speaking to the Farming Independent, the Professor Emeritus of European Agricultural Policy, said the changing regulations mean agri-environmental schemes could move towards group schemes.
"It would allow a move away from the patchwork quilt effect that we have currently where one in five farmers might be helping to create or protect a habitat to where an entire tract of land could be protected or improved by farmers working together," said Prof Matthews.
However, sources in the IFA suggested that co-operative type agri-environment schemes would only be workable between farmers sharing a commonage.
"Collective schemes may have some limited impact but it would be mainly commonage areas," an IFA source said.