Macra defends stance on SFP entitlements

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Macra na Feirme has denied it wants to change to a simple area-based payment system for calculating the Single Farm Payment (SFP).

A spokesman for the young farmer body said it was in favour of a rolling reference year being employed to calculate farmer entitlements.

This would mean that each applicant's payment would be based on their previous year's level of farming activity.

Macra has also called for a 10pc top-up for young farmers, which would be paid for a maximum of five years.

The association has also proposed that farmers producing under 1.4LU/ha will get a lower payment than those producing more than that figure. In addition, they have called for a cap of €100,000 being put on individual SFP entitlements.

Defending Macra's stance, the body's CEO, Edmond Connolly, said the SFP payment must be targeted at active farmers and reward those who develop their businesses.

He said Ireland would not be allowed to continue to work off the reference period of 2000, 2001 and 2002.

"The SFP has to encourage active farmers but, if we stick to a reference year, the payment becomes an inheritance and will reward inactivity," Mr Connolly said.

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"We can start with what's there but we need something that moves with the times rather than something that is frozen in time."

Irish Independent

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