Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 27 April 2018

Landowners face no entitlements as CAP details arise

Martin Ryan

Thousands of landowners may end up with no entitlements for their land as the implications of the fine detail of the CAP reforms begin to emerge.

Farming leaders, anxious to avoid internal wrangling over who gets most out of the redistribution of the Single Farm Payment (SFP), have called on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to provide immediate clarity on a raft of anomalies that are coming to light.

It now appears that up to 1,000 farmers who have sold all their entitlements since 2005 will not qualify for any payment.

Landowners with land and entitlements on long-term leases may also forfeit their entitlements to the current lessee unless there is a legally binding obligation to return the entitlements written into the lease.

There are additional concerns over discrepancies between the number of entitlements applied for this year and the land area being farmed.

ENTITLEMENTS

Meanwhile, there are 7,000 farmers with no SFP entitlements and an estimated 80,000 entitlements for which the owners have no land base on which to claim the payments.

The Department of Agriculture is expected to release a discussion document outlining a range of options within the next two weeks that is to deal with various areas of concern.

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Using a minimum stocking rate as a means of defining an 'active farmer', and therefore someone who qualifies for an SFP, has been touted in some quarters.

However, the ICMSA has raised doubts over the legality of applying stocking level criteria to the roll-out of the new CAP regime.

"There is growing uncertainty over whether this can be done on a national basis and be applied to all farms," said ICMSA president John Comer.

"It is clear that potential anomalies will unfairly penalise individual farmers.

"And given that many farmers are already facing serious losses under the agreement, these must be resolved immediately," he added.

Further CAP coverage page 6

Irish Independent