With CAP Reform moving to the implementation stage at farm level, IFA President Eddie Downey said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney needs to address a number of outstanding issues on entitlements and conditions affecting the drawdown of Single Farm Payment for 2014 and future years.
Regarding the proposal from Minister Coveney that lessors who have leased out all of their land and entitlements, should now transfer their entitlements to the lessees, Eddie Downey said the Minister must ensure that these farmers do not encounter a tax liability on these forced transfers as a result of the shortcoming in the CAP regulation. He said force majeure cases must be fairly addressed and IFA has again written to Minister Coveney requesting a CGT and VAT tax derogation in respect of these entitlement transactions.
The IFA President said the change from the existing SFP payments to the new system in 2015 is very complex and will require a huge amount of work and administration by the Department of Agriculture. He said, “It is essential that payments continue to be made on time and within the deadlines set down during the changeover period in 2014 and 2015”.
Eddie Downey said IFA is meeting with the Department of Agriculture this week to discuss the conditions and objective criteria around the new National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme. “Flexibility is important to accommodate different categories and IFA will be working to ensure full utilisation of the schemes.”
The IFA President said Minister Coveney also needs to resolve the Sheep Grassland Scheme issue and restore funding back to €18m. He said the Sheep payment cannot be eroded because of the SFP approximation changes. In addition, outstanding issues on the protein crops scheme need to be resolved.
On land eligibility, Eddie Downey said retrospective penalties cannot be applied and Minister Coveney must go back to Brussels to get this important issue resolved.
The IFA President said early implementation of the new RDP Programme is very important to allow up to 20,000 farmers enter the new GLAS Scheme in 2015, and ensure that a new farm investment scheme is available as soon as possible.