IFA Rural Development Chairman, Michael Biggins has said that the EU Commission has indicated that Member States can reopen their agri–environmental schemes in line with transitional rules, which will be agreed shortly to extend the current CAP for up to two years.
At a meeting in Brussels of the Rural Development Civil Dialogue Group, which IFA is member of and which was addressed by EU Commission officials, Michael Biggins said that it was very clear that Member States could extend existing contracts by one or two years (in the transition period).
This is relevant to the 36,000 farmers who will conclude their GLAS contracts at the end of 2020 and the extra 12,000 farmers who will finish at the end of 2021.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said that the incoming Government can’t allow a gap in GLAS payments. This would have a devastating effect on farm income over the next two years.
The EU Commission also pointed out that under the transitional rules it is possible for new farmers to enter into agri- environmental contracts for shorter periods than the normal five years.
This is relevant for the 3,000 AEOS farmers whose contracts finished at the end of 2017, as well as new entrants to farming since 2016 who were denied entry to GLAS.
Michael Biggins said that a strong agri– environmental scheme is vital in the next CAP. IFA has set a clear target of a payment of €10,000 under a general scheme with higher payments for farmers with designated Natura land and commonages.