Farmers in scramble to secure highest value SFP entitlements
THE battle for high value entitlements has commenced, as auctioneers report unprecedented numbers of farmers looking to maximise their Single Farm Payment over the next seven years.
Despite efforts by the EU's agricultural commissioner, Dacien Ciolos, to bring entitlements to a standard value, farmers have realised that higher value entitlements still represent the best value for money over the next seven years.
In addition, farmers that were leasing in entitlements in recent years are being advised by agricultural consultants to buy out as many of these entitlements as possible before May 15 this year.
This follows suggestions from the Department of Agriculture that leased entitlements could be liquidated when the reformed CAP regime kicks off next year.
Following the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney's announcement regarding State and EU funding for the agricultural sector last week, entitlement traders such as Galway auctioneer Joseph Naughton described demand for entitlements as "frantic", with potential buyers outnumbering sellers by 20 to one.
"I would urge anyone who lost out on land as ineligible to see if they have been left with excess entitlements over their land. Those extra entitlements can be sold but this year is the farmers' last chance to sell them," he said.
"If the entitlements are not activated this year, they will vanish.