IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has called for the maximum payout of over €800m to farmers as the 70% advance of the BPS to 124,000 farmers begins today.
Speaking after the most recent Charter of Farmers Rights meeting in Portlaoise, Richard Kennedy said farmers will not tolerate any delays in payment. “The Department gave commitments that they expect a big pay run this week. It’s essential as farmers across all sectors have gone through a very difficult year, with severe weather conditions affecting yields, higher feed costs and poor product prices.”
The IFA Deputy President said farmers want to see the benefits of the online system, under which all applications had to be made this year.
In relation to other payments, IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said GLAS payments to 49,000 farmers will commence with an 85% advance payment at the end of November.
IFA is reminding farmers to provide the documentation to confirm various aspects of the GLAS scheme. This includes the 4,500 farmers who have the low emission slurry measure to send in forms to confirm spreading of slurry; 1,500 commonage farmers who have not completed the CMP; the 2,300 farmers GLAS 3 farmers who have yet to send in a Nutrient Management Plan; and the 400 GLAS 1 and 2 farmers who have not completed their training programme. GLAS 3 farmers do not have to complete their training programme until the end of 2019.
In relation to TAMS, the Department confirmed to Joe Brady that standard costings to determine grant aid are increasing for any farmer who is applying in the current tranche which began on Sept 7th and which will close in December.
IFA expressed disappointment that the increases are not backdated, but it was important the new costings were relayed to farmers and planners. “The increase in labour and building material costs necessitated a revision.”
With regard to other schemes, IFA livestock Chairman Angus Woods said that livestock farmers need all the supports given the difficulties this year. The BDGP and Sheep Welfare schemes are due to paid from the end of November.
On inspections, Richard Kennedy expressed serious concern over the increase in land eligibility penalties.
Figures presented to the Charter show the number of farmers hit with a penalty increased from 924 in 2016 to 1,482 in 2017, an increase of 60%.
In the case of cross compliance, the number of farmers who faced a penalty in the same period decreased from 1,838 in 2016 to 1,384 in 2017. These figures still point to an over rigorous inspection regime, with farmers payments reduced and an impact on farm income.