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New figures reveal who will be the winners and losers in flattening of CAP payments

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Farmers on high payments have already had payments cut over the last CAP programme

Farmers on high payments have already had payments cut over the last CAP programme

Farmers on high payments have already had payments cut over the last CAP programme

More than 70,000 farmers will gain from a full flattening of CAP payments to €265/ha, an analysis of 2019 entitlements shows.

Close to 60pc of farmers, or 72,710 applicants, received less than €265/ha under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening last year.

The full convergence of payments to the national average, which is supported by the European Parliament, would result in all farmers moving to around €265/ha.

However, such a move will result in losses to almost 50,000, or 40pc, of the 120,000 BPS applicants.

Farmers on high payments have already had payments cut over the last CAP programme as the minimum payment to all applicants was moved to 60pc of the national average or €160/ha.

Payments to farmers in the west and northwest will generally increase if full flattening is introduced, with 80pc of Donegal farmers gaining, and 86pc of farms in Leitrim receiving increased payments.

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Other big winners from such a move would be Mayo, where 73pc of farmers would gain; 77pc of farmers in Sligo would receive higher payments, as well as 74pc in Kerry, 69pc in Clare, 65pc in Roscommon, 64pc in Galway, 63pc in Limerick, 61pc in Cavan and 60pc in Westmeath.

Conversely, farmers in the southeast would be the big losers. Close to two-thirds of BPS recipients in Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford would see a further drop in their Pillar I direct payments, while 58pc of farmers Laois would face a reduction.

For farmers currently over €200/ha, the gains from full convergence to €265/ha would be minimal.

Likewise over 18,000 farmers between €266/ha and €300/ha would only suffer minor losses. The big losers will be the 5,285 farmers who receive over €400/ha.

The Commission have proposed a front-loaded payment model to minimise losses for farmers who have high payments on small acreages. This would deliver higher payments on the first 10-20ha.

A full flattening of CAP payments could result in a major transfer of payments from intensive producers to more extensive farmers. There will be geographic shifts in payments, with monies generally moving from east to west.

For example, it is estimated that around €14m in Pillar I payments will move from Cork to Kerry over the course of the next CAP programme if full convergence is applied.

Mayo would be the biggest beneficiary of full convergence, with the total value of Pillar I payments increasing by around €15m, rising from €72m to €87m. This would be worth an additional €1,350 on average for the county's 11,000 farmers.

Kerry's farmers would receive a further €14m annually, while €12m extra would be paid to farmers in Donegal, with an additional €6.5m going to Galway.

The big losers under full flattening would be Cork (€13.8m), Tipperary (€9.4m), Wexford (€7.7m), Kilkenny (€6.8m), Laois (€5.5m) and Meath (€5.2m).

Full convergence of CAP payments is a contentious issue for the farm organisations, with the IFA, ICMSA and ICSA opposed to any further reduction in farmers' direct payments. However, INHFA has insisted that direct payments can no longer be based on farming output from 20 years ago.

Given that certain actions will be required to meet environmental requirements under the next CAP, there will have to be an equivalence of payment for this work across all land types, the INHFA said.

Many farmers in the west and northwest will see payments increase, while some in the southeast will lose out in the EU's move to flatten CAP payments to €256/hectare

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