Direct payments to farmers selected for an inspection by the Department of Agriculture will not encounter payment delays this year, according to IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe.
Following ongoing demands from the IFA, Brian Rushe said the Department has confirmed that they have now secured flexibility from the EU Commission to make payments on inspection cases where they are not fully complete. He said in previous years it was most frustrating and unsatisfactory that many farmers who were selected for inspection incurred payment delays.
Speaking at a Charter of Rights meeting with the Department today, the IFA Deputy President said with over 129,000 farmers making a Basic Payment application across all the schemes and the severe income problems from the COVID-19 crisis this year, it is absolutely essential that all farmers are paid on time in line with the deadlines in the Charter. Brian Rush said “The Department confirmed to IFA that all inspections and schemes are on schedule to deliver payments on time.”
In relation to inspections, Brian Rushe said the Department said that there will be some COVID-19 related changes this year. “Farmers will receive advance notice; the Department inspectors will adhere to HSE guideline and social distancing; and post the follow up paper work to the farmer.”
IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said he reiterated the IFA case that Minister Creed and the Department needs to negotiate an amnesty on the unnecessary 5% stocking reduction in BEAM because of the COVID-19 crisis and the market difficulties in the livestock sector. “IFA also pushed the case that all farmers who sold finished cattle in the marts are entitled to the BEAM payment and this commitment must be honoured by Minister Creed.”
He said with just over 27,000 applicants for the BEEP-S scheme, it is essential that Minister Creed ensures that the scheme is adequately funded and that farmers are paid the full rates of €90 per cow on the first 10 cows and €80 per cow on the remainder.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins said it was vitally important that payments for the ANC scheme commenced in the third week of September and GLAS payments are made in October in line with the Charter commitments. He also called for an early announcement on the extension of GLAS contracts into 2021 under the EU CAP transitional arrangements. “There must be a rollover of all the Pillar II schemes, ANC, GLAS, TAMS, BDGP, BEEP and Sheep Welfare.”
On the LPIS review, IFA again strongly emphasised that there must be no delay in payments such as arose last year in Co Louth.