With farm incomes under severe pressure this year, IFA President Eddie Downey has said it was never more important that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and his Department deliver direct payments on time, within the deadlines dates recently agreed in the new Charter of Farmers’ Rights. Speaking at the AIB National Livestock Show in Tullamore Co Offaly, Eddie Downey said direct payments will be critically important to farmers this year. “We will hold the Minister and the Department to account and insist on full payment delivery across all schemes in line with the commitments negotiated in the new Charter.” Launching the IFA Guide to New Farm Schemes and Payments, Eddie Downey said there are many new farm schemes under the reformed CAP. These range from the new Basic Payment Scheme and Greening in Pillar 1 to GLAS, Areas of Natural Constraint, Beef Data and Genomics, Knowledge Transfer and TAMS in Pillar 2. He said the IFA Guide outlines the details across all the schemes in one simple, summarised document and also outlines farmers’ rights on inspections and payments, as set out in the New Farmers Charter. Eddie Downey said full details on all the Farm Schemes and comprehensive information on Inspection protocols as well as frequently asked questions and a payments calendar are all available online on the IFA website at ifalegacystagi.wpengine.com In addition, he said the IFA’s app gives farmers instant access to this important information on the phone – www.ifarm.ie. Eddie Downey said it is essential that the Government delivers on its funding commitment to the Rural Development Programme (RDP) of €580m, to provide for the farm schemes in this year’s Budget. He said this funding will underpin economic recovery in rural Ireland and will deliver programmes of support for low-income farmers, support the provision of environmental services, encourage young farmers, promote on-farm investment and support farming in marginal areas. “Throughout the downturn, the primary agriculture and agri-food sector delivered increased employment and export earnings, contributing significantly to our economic recovery. However, the cuts to farm schemes in successive budgets have had a damaging effect on farm incomes particularly in the vulnerable, low-income drystock sectors.” Eddie Downey highlighted the following expenditure priorities for farming in Budget 2016 as follows:
- Funding of €250m must be allocated for agri-environment schemes in Budget 2016, with full payments and 50,000 places for all GLAS and AEOS participants;
- Funding of €65m for the suckler cow herd must be provided through the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme in Budget 2016;
- A funding allocation of €15m is required for the rollout of Knowledge Transfer programmes for farmers across all sectors in 2016;
- Funding of €40m is required for the TAMS II programme in 2016, to cater for all sectors;
- A targeted payment for the ewe flock, requiring a funding allocation of €25m in Budget 2016; and
- An increased funding allocation for the TB Eradication Programme, to include increased consequential loss payments for farmers.
On the change over to the new CAP this year, the IFA President said it is essential that the Department of Agriculture has all of the ground work done over the summer months on the changes to entitlements, so as the new system runs smoothly and payments are delivered on time. He said with the pressure on incomes this year, there is no room for errors or delays and payments must be made as per the deadline dates. Eddie Downey said IFA has a strong support service for members covering all aspects of direct payment and inspections. He said the service offers help and assistance to farmers with any difficulties associated with the key areas of inspections or problems with payments. Farmers can contact the IFA by email or by phone, call into any of our local regional offices or contact any elected IFA representative.