IFA Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne has set out the priorities for IFA in advance of the forthcoming discussions on the stocking review of the Commonage Framework Plan.
Pat Dunne welcomed the appointment of Joe Healy as Chairman of the Commonage Implementation Committee. “It is important that the work of this Committee begins promptly to resolve the issues that have arisen following the Minister for Agriculture’s announcement on the management arrangements for commonages.”
“Qualification for the Pillar I payment must be based on realistic figures. The minimum/maximum numbers which were issued some time ago to farmers by the Department of Agriculture must be revised as they have been proven to be inaccurate in many instances.”
The IFA Hill Chairman said that in relation to Pillar II Rural Development measures, the ANC payment should be based on what the requirement of the stocking set-out in the framework plan even if this is lower than 0.15lu/ha.
With regards to GLAS, Pat Dunne said the inclusion of active farmers only as part of the management agreement or where more than 50% of the area is covered by the agreement is sensible. However, where this is difficult to achieve it is important that the appeals system ensures that all active farmers qualify for GLAS. The variability that exists on commonages must be taken into account and flexibility must be shown.
Concluding, Pat Dunne said the increase in payments to €120/ha in commonage areas as well as the GLAS + €2,000 top-up must ensure that commonage farmers can maximise their payments under Pillar II along with other vital farm schemes.