Tolerances announced by the Department following IFA pressure have cleared some of the confusion on what land can be claimed as eligible for direct payment scheme applications. We answer your queries about the new flexibilities.
What land is deemed eligible for scheme applications?
There are two key principles that apply: availability and suitability.
For most schemes, you must have the parcel of land available to you from 1 January until after May 31 or from before May 31 until the end of the year. For ANC or GLAS payments you must farm the land for the full year.
To be eligible, land must be agricultural and maintained in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation. In addition, there must be suitable access to the land, defined boundaries and appropriate fencing. The Department of Agriculture has issued a guide to determining if land is eligible, which gives specific information and examples – Read here
How do I determine what deduction to make for ineligible land?
It is very difficult to put an exact percentage on scattered ineligible areas in a particular land parcel. That is why a new pro-rata deduction system has been developed to allow flexibility.
Under the new system, if there is less than 10% of ineligible land in a parcel you can still claim the full area. If 10%-30% of the parcel is ineligible, a deduction of 20% applies. Between 30%-50%, a 40% deduction applies and between 50%-70% a 60% deduction applies. Land parcels with more than 70% ineligible the parcel must be excluded entirely.
|Less than 10% ineligible||No deduction applies|
|10% – 30%||20% deduction applies|
|30% – 50%||40% deduction applies|
|50% – 70%||60% deduction applies|
|70% or more||Land parcel is ineligible|
You will still have to mark all of the the ineligible areas on your application, but the deductions outlined above will apply.
What happens if my land is inspected later and the inspector believes more of my land is ineligible than I had declared?
The IFA is insisting that the Department makes clear to inspectors that the new tolerances must be interpreted and applied in a flexible and practical way. We will be closely monitoring how this is implemented.
I have designated land that was eligible in the past but is no longer eligible because of restrictions, can I claim it?
The IFA has highlighted for some time the issue of Natura land that has become overgrown and ineligible because of restrictions applied to it. The new flexibilities mean that Natura land that was eligible in 2008 can be include as eligible. IFA strongly believes that any farmer restricted in a designated area must be compensated for the restrictions imposed – read more here (link to SACs section)
I have made already made my application and, based on the new flexibilities, I deducted for more land than I should have, can I make changes now?
Yes, you or your advisor will be able to revisit your application and make any changes necessary.