Commonage farmers face Single Farm Payment freeze
Published 02/07/2014 | 02:30
Up to 8,000 commonage farmers will not be able to claim their Single Farm Payment over the coming years due to rule changes regarding stocking rates.
Fianna Fail's agriculture spokesman Éamon Ó Cuív has claimed that farmers who don't adhere to a minimum stocking rate on their commonage ground will automatically disqualify themselves from their Single Farm Payments.
"There are over 13,250 farmers in the country with commonage, with nearly 85pc of these along the five western seaboards. But the reality is that well over half of them never put anything to the hill," said Deputy Ó Cuív.
He said that this arrangement suited all involved as it made it viable for the remaining farmers to graze their stock on the commonage.
"It shouldn't matter who puts the sheep on the hill to keep it in a semi-natural state.
"Despite the fact that this latest round of CAP reform promised to simplify the system, we now find that every commonage farmer will be forced into having stock on the hill that will, in turn, lead to all kinds of complicated messing and bureaucracy."
Deputy Ó Cuív has also criticised the fact that the Rural Development Programme (RDP) money will not be fully allocated until the end of 2023.