Government urged to safeguard farm scheme payments
Future funding for farm schemes such as GLAS and BDGP must be secured now by the Department of Agriculture as the new CAP programme to 2027 is unlikely to be approved ahead of 2021.
INHFA president Colm O'Donnell maintained that the new CAP programme was almost certain to be delayed due to the continuing uncertainty around Brexit and disputes relating to the EU and CAP budgets.
"In this eventuality, farmers with low Pillar 1 payments who are often depending on additional income support from Pillar 2 schemes such as GLAS will need to be protected," Mr O'Donnell said.
"When previous CAP programmes did not start up as expected, measures were put in place to rollover schemes and our Government needs to commit to this and get clarity in Brussels on it if required.
"While schemes such as the ANC are easy to roll on due to it being an annual payment, other schemes such as GLAS and the BDGP are for a set number of years and need more consideration."
Mr O'Donnell pointed out that many farmers leaving AEOS were unable to join another agri-environment scheme since GLAS was full.
"For this reason, the INHFA is calling for the reopening of GLAS for a five-year term to accommodate farmers not in any agri-environmental scheme, and a commitment to extend existing contracts for any farmers whose contract may end prior to the commencement of a new CAP programme," Mr O'Donnell said.
He claimed that such an extension was also needed for the BDGP.