Hill Farming Reports

Hill Farming Council Report December 2020

Designated Land

  • IFA met the new Minister for Heritage Malcolm Noonan on Sept 2nd.
  • At this meeting IFA strongly reiterated our opposition to any more designated land.
  • Recent reports on designations were grossly exaggerated according to the Minister and there are no plans to further increase areas from the current level of 13.5%.
  • IFA raised in particular the EU Life Nature project where funding of €20m is provided over 9 years.
  • The Minister confirmed to IFA that this project would not proceed without the necessary consultation.
  • IFA also raised the issue of compensation for farmers where rewetting of bogland is planned, and easing the restrictions on afforestation in Hen Harrier areas.
  • IFA also raised the farm agreement and the need for an early conclusion to discussions which have been ongoing for some time.
  • As a result of the meeting with the Minister, a further meeting with the NPWS on October 14th next, to discuss the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the likely implications this will have for Ireland.
  • IFA again are be insisting that there must be no new designations and that compensation payments must be enhanced to the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme, and EU Agri-Environmental programmes.

NPWS Farm Plan Scheme

  • An additional 250 NPWS farm plan schemes were announced following a funding increase in the budget. New farm plans established by the National Parks and Wildlife Service agri-ecology unit may include species-rich grassland plans, bird plans, arable farm biodiversity plans, multi-functional high nature value farm plans.  More details to follow
  • Following this increased allocation of €1m for the NPWS farm plan scheme, IFA are pressing for an early start up.
  • IFA has called for the plans to be meaningful, with farmers getting payments which relate to restrictions and work to be carried out. 

CAP Transition

  • EU Transitional proposals have been passed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
  • The transitional rules are vital to allow the continuation of various schemes such as GLAS, TAMS, BDGP, and Sheep Welfare into 2021 or 2022.
  • At a meeting with the Department of Agriculture, IFA discussed the extension of farms schemes. At that meeting the Dept of Agriculture confirmed to IFA that the Schemes will be extended into 2021 and beyond as part of EU CAP Transitional Rules.
  • At the meeting with the Department of Agriculture IFA insisted that there must be a simple process to transpose plans for 1or 2 years.
  • The Basic Payment and Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payments are to be rolled over as part of CAP transition for 2021 and 2022 under the current rules and that payment dates for 2021 will be in line with that of 2020
  • With a GLAS extension being sought, the Hill committee, at a recent meeting with the Dept. got a commitment that under the current arrangements the commonage plans would continue, and that payments would be maintained. IFA insisted that there would be no extra costs imposed on farmers including planning costs in commonage areas.


  • IFA will be raising the need for the implementation of the Wildlife amendments to allow burning next March, as well as hedge cutting in August next.

Comhairle na Tuaithe

  • At a recent meeting of Comhaire na Tuaithe, a new structure for the organisation is being discussed. 
  • IFA is insisting that the farmer’s/landowner’s representation is not in any way diluted.

Flor McCarthy – Chair

Denis Griffin – Executive

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