IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said imposing an additional linear cut on existing entitlements is not acceptable to farmers.
At a recent meeting of the Direct Payments Advisory Committee with the Department of Agriculture, Brian Rushe said IFA was very clear on the need for a National Reserve for young farmers in 2022 and beyond.
Approximately 1,600 applications have been made to the National Reserve for 2022, which is a significant increase compared to the period 2018-2021. The average number of applications in this period was approximately 850 per annum.
Under the National Reserve in 2021, 740 farmers – of which 678 were young farmers – received an average allocation of €5,460 in entitlements. In addition, 5,129 young farmers received an average of €2,270 payment top-up under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2021.
A linear reduction of approximately 0.6% to all payment entitlements in 2022 will be imposed to meet this increased demand.
Brian Rushe said the main reason for the surge in demand is most likely the removal of the upper off-farm income threshold of €40,000 which was a requirement prior to 2022.
“Irish farmers have made a very positive contribution to young farmers in terms of funding and allocation of additional entitlements through the National Reserve. However, this move allows people who don’t have farming as their primary source of income to secure entitlements at the expense of those who rely on farming for their livelihood,” he said.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins said a linear cut, no matter how small, to fund the National Reserve is yet again another cut to be endured by farmers who have already had cuts imposed on them in the current CAP and are facing more cuts in the next CAP.
“The Department of Agriculture previously outlined to the Committee that unused funds from the Young Farmer Scheme could fund the National Reserve for 2022. IFA reiterated that any cut is unacceptable and unused funds from the Young Farmer Scheme and other schemes must be directed to fund the Reserve,” he said.