Flat rate gets the nod in ICMSA poll
A majority of ICMSA members want to switch to a flat-rate payment system, according to a survey of more than 300 members.
The farm organisation hired Dublin-based analysts Behaviour and Attitudes to interview their members to establish their views on everything from credit to how they will vote in the upcoming presidential elections.
On the key issue of reform of the Single Farm Payment (SFP), the survey's findings are very different from the stance taken by the IFA, which is actively campaigning to retain the historical basis for calculating the SFP.
Only one third of farmers surveyed said that they would prefer to continue with the historical payment system. Some 45pc want a flat rate payment system to be introduced with a top-up for active farmers.
However, this figure rises to 59pc when farmers who either want a gradual or immediate introduction of the flat rate payment system were included. Five per cent of farmers surveyed did not know what system they would prefer.
The support for a historical system was even weaker among part-time farmers surveyed, with only 21pc of this group wanting to stick with the status quo. Support for the historical system was also lower among farmers who specialised in dairying compared to those who had dairy and other enterprises on their farms. Unsurprisingly, the majority of those surveyed believe that the vast bulk of the funding available for the SFP should go to the active farmers, with a proportionate reduction to those with off-farm incomes.
The survey also asked farmers how they felt about re-coupling a payment for suckler cows.
Only 14pc of respondents said that they would be in favour of reducing the SFP to fund a suckler cow payment.