Farmers warned to be wary of land price bubble
Published 19/01/2012 | 05:00
FARMERS have been warned not to get sucked into a land-rent bubble in advance of new EU rules on payments.
The warning came as landowners were told they would have to prove that they have been farming their land in order to qualify for payments.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos told farmers that he was seeking to prevent a land-rental price bubble in Ireland, which could follow because of changes to how farm payments are made.
He was trying to quash fears that Irish farm rents will soar in advance of proposed reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
In Dublin yesterday to take the views of Irish farmers on his reforms, Mr Ciolos said that only active farmers -- rather than people who simply own a lot of land -- will be eligible for the payments, which are currently worth €1.3bn a year to farmers.
From 2014, payments will be based on the size of the farm and payments will be restricted only to those who were active farmers receiving a single farm payment during 2011. Payments are based on levels of food production in the past.
This requirement was being introduced to address Irish concerns that landlords could demand excessive rental prices from farmer tenants or even take back the land in the hope of securing CAP payments themselves. However, the bigger risk is price inflation.
Mr Ciolos told the Irish Farmers Association's (IFA) AGM that he would look in the next few weeks to see if further measures could be taken to address concerns about soaring rental prices.