Tuesday 20 March 2018

Extra cash for young farmers in CAP deal

Aideen Sheehan Brussels

YOUNG farmers have welcomed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms that will give them extra money in a bid to get new blood into farming.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney announced a successful conclusion to marathon reform talks in Luxembourg yesterday.

The new deal will redistribute payments more equally among farmers, and make them conditional on meeting higher environmental standards.

It will also provide a mandatory 25pc top-up payment to farmers under 40 to try and inject more youthful innovation into Europe's elderly farming sector.


While the reform process has been going on for nearly three years, the final negotiations between the EU Parliament, Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos and Mr Coveney concluded surprisingly quickly.

But the contentious issue of capping or cutting payments to wealthy farmers who get over €150,000-a-year from the EU was kicked to touch yet again.

The parliament and the council both blamed each other for leaving this out of yesterday's agreement.

Mr Coveney said the reform package that had been agreed was a "historic" achievement for the Irish presidency.

"There is a very strong Irish stamp on these CAP reforms, and that's why I was keen to conclude them to maximise the Irish influence," he said.

He had been able to secure a compromise deal on single farm payments, which meant just €103m would be redistributed among farmers, much less than originally proposed. "Farmers will sleep easy in their beds tonight," Mr Coveney said.

Irish Independent

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