IFA President Eddie Downey has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately commence detailed discussions on the CAP Rural Development Plan 2014-2020, which is of critical importance to farm income over the next seven years.
Eddie Downey said that there are many outstanding issues to be resolved such as clarity on the stocking of commonages including opposition to the 80% stocking rule, payment levels for GLAS measures and details of eligible items for grant aid under TAMS II. It is important that all matters are resolved before the Plan is formally sent to Brussels at the end of this month.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has also urged the Minister for Agriculture to change the GLAS ranking system in favour of low income farmers and to remove any specific reference to an organic nitrogen limit in the selection criteria.
“Favouring farmers in the selection criteria where the organic nitrogen limits exceeds 140kg of nitrogen per ha and for farmers with over 30 ha of tillage is discriminatory against farmers who may be either below this nitrogen limit or are on smaller tillage farms. There should be no reference to such categories within the GLAS criteria and that all farmers and in particular those who are on low incomes must get priority.”
On TAMS, Flor McCarthy said grant aid must apply across all sectors with a broad list of eligible items for grant aid. The tranche system must be flexible with a front loading of support in the early years of the Programme.
On hill farmers, Pat Dunne Chairman of the IFA Hill Farming Committee said that other than the commonage issue, he wants to see a higher GLAS payment in hill areas, higher ANC payments and a specific measure for hill sheep under the knowledge transfer criteria.