Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 February 2018

ICMSA calls for study of land policy in CAP plan

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The ICMSA is calling for a land policy study to assess the impact of the EU's CAP reform proposals published last week.

"The idea of equalising payments across the country is a perversion of disadvantaged areas," said the ICMSA's general secretary, Ciaran Dolan. "It will increase the value of marginal land and conversely it could reduce the value of the most productive land in the country."

Mr Dolan said that linking the Single Farm Payment (SFP) to soil types would also discriminate against farmers who had, in some cases over generations, improved their land through drainage and fertilisation.

However, he accepted that dividing the country up on a regional or county basis for the purposes of calculating flat rate payments could be equally contentious.

The ICMSA chief also pointed out that bringing the 500,000ha of land that currently has no entitlement attached into the SFP will dilute payments for the rest of the farm land by over 10pc.

He also believes that the definition proposed by the EU of an active farmer achieves nothing.


"A person with €50,000 offfarm income per annum who claims €2,000 in SFP is a non-active farmer, whereas the same person with the same income who claims €4,000 in SFP would be deemed to be an active farmer and paid. The limits are arbitrary and make no sense and run the risk of channelling payments away from active farmers," he said.

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Mr Dolan also took issue with the greening element of the proposals because he claimed it would cause too big a shift of payments to less productive land.

These concerns have led the ICMSA to call for a study of land policy to be urgently carried out to calculate the impact that such reforms would have on the use and value of land in Ireland.

Meanwhile, IBEC has proposed that the greening measures should be counted as agriculture's contribution to climate change.

"This is the first pan-industry response to climate change," said IBEC's director of dairy policy, Michael Barry.

"Given that billions of EU taxpayers' money will be used for this purpose, agriculture should be absolved from requirements such as reducing methane emissions by 20pc.

"Unless a strategy such as this is adopted, climate change targets will create a very real block to the development of European agriculture and the allocation of billions from the CAP for greening measures will effectively be wasted."

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