ICMSA calls for study of land policy in CAP plan
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.