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The medium-term outlook for agriculture is very uncertain, not least as a result of policy and trade issues stemming from Brexit. 2019 is a critical year, given the decisions that will be made on CAP post-2020.  The outcome of the CAP process will decide the Budget for Ireland and the level of support for Irish farmers for the next seven years. Direct payments are critical for farmers’ incomes and we expect the Government to fight for an increase in the CAP Budget ” –  IFA President Joe Healy

The IFA is holding a number of open farmer meetings around the country on

  • The state of play with the CAP negotiations
  • The IFA’s campaign to protect farmers’ direct payments
  • The key dates in 2019 that members need to be aware of, and
  • What the recent ANC review means for farmers and how they can appeal the outcome if they were excluded.

IFA President Joe Healy said following the publication today of the ANC review by the Department of Agriculture, the appeals system will have to give every opportunity for farmers in those areas excluded to make a strong case based on natural handicaps, primarily high rainfall, which impacts on farm income.

Commenting on the overall review, the President welcomed the inclusion of areas that were unfairly excluded in the past. The appeals system will also have to cater for those areas which remain ineligible for ANC payments.

Joe Healy said it is important that the existing classifications, including those for the offshore islands, carry into the new Scheme. The IFA campaign, which started in 2017, has focused on minimal losses, an increased budget and payments based on the natural handicap.

The IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said the scheme will be worth €250m next year. This follows an increase of €50m over the last two Budgets. “IFA will be seeking a further increase in the ANC allocation to bring it to €300m per annum.”

IFA Hill Committee Chairman Flor McCarthy has welcomed the confirmation that 32,000 hill farmers will continue to receive the highest payment. The ANC Scheme into the future will have to provide the highest payments to farmers with the most marginal land, most of which are hill farms.

The payments of ANC along with other direct payments supports such as BPS and GLAS represent a significant proportion of overall farm income in the areas that are classified as ANC. The Minister must ensure that this situation does not change in the forthcoming CAP 2020 talks.

IFA will hold a meeting in the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise at 7.30pm tomorrow night to discuss the outcome of the ANC Review. It will be attended by County Chairs, Rural Development Committee reps & Hill Committee reps.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Joe Brady has welcomed the roll-out of GLAS payments to 33,000 participants under the scheme. He said that it is important that the remaining 16,000 participants are also paid without delay.

He said, “This 85% advance payment, worth €116m, is coming at a vital time with farm incomes under severe pressure following this most difficult year.”

The IFA Rural Development Chairman reminded farmers yet to submit documentation related to nutrient management plans (2093), commonage plans (11% of comanages / approx. 600 farmers), rare breeds and low emissions spreading to send it in immediately, or risk having their payment delayed.

Joe Brady concluded by saying that the Minister must address any outstanding issues related to 2016 and 2017 GLAS payments, as well as ensuring that the final 15% for 2018 is paid as soon as possible.

Following Budget 2019, IFA Rural Development Chairman, Joe Brady said there must be no delay in the delivery of direct payments. Minister Creed must ensure that these payments, which play a critical role in supporting farm incomes, arrive on time.

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The BPS replaced the Single Payment System (SPS) in 2015.

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