IFA officers from every county will lobby members of the Oireachtas in Dublin today (Wed) to get approval for the Rural Development Programme and open vital farm schemes without further delay.
IFA President Eddie Downey has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to secure agreement from the EU Commission in Brussels for Ireland’s Rural Development Programme, as already a number of countries have concluded their negotiations on their plans.
Eddie Downey said, “the plan has now been with the EU Commission for well over six months and Ireland’s plan has not yet been approved. The urgent implementation of the farm schemes was never more pressing given the difficult income position of many farmers”.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy pointed out that with many farmers now having received their last REPS payment, it has got to be a priority of the Minister to get the GLAS scheme open and to allow all farmers who are applying for the scheme to become eligible. It will be unacceptable if some farmers are excluded from the scheme as the environmental supports are a key component of the support structure to low income farmers in vulnerable sectors and regions.
IFA Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne said that commonage farmers must be allowed the necessary flexibility to join the GLAS scheme under the new rules on the grazing management of common land.
Key IFA demands are:
1. GLAS – €5,000 payment for 50,000 farmers over five years
– All farmers who apply are allowed into the scheme in 2015, with a significant payment this year;
– All farmers must have an opportunity to join the scheme, especially low-income farmers in vulnerable sectors and regions;
– Implementation in commonage areas must be flexible to allow all active shareholders to participate;
– The GLAS + €2,000 top-up must apply to a wide range of farmers including those with Natura and commonage land;
– The Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht must compensate farmers where restrictions are imposed in designated areas through an NPWS farm plan scheme.
2. TAMS II – €395m investment scheme
– The young farmer top-up grant of an additional 20% must include all young farmers;
– The farm safety scheme is part of the new TAMS II.
3. Areas of Natural Constraint – €195m per annum for 95,000 farmers
– The review of the ANCs must involve the protection of existing areas and the restoration of payments to their pre-2008 levels over the next number of years.
4. Knowledge Transfer – €100m
– The current proposal that farmers get a payment of €750 and that planners get €500 is unacceptable and anti-competitive;
– IFA want to ensure that farmers who have two enterprises can be a member of two groups with the appropriate payments.
5. Beef Data Genomics – €52m per annum
– The payment must be paid on all suckler cows applied for;
– This scheme must be introduced in full with minimal costs, and without any added bureaucracy for the farmer.