IFA Hill Farming Chairman Pat Dunne said the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and the Department of Agriculture have to provide further clarity to farmers on land eligibility before the end-of-May deadline for changes to their BPS application.
Pat Dunne said without this guidance farmers are being left in a very precarious situation as they are uncertain whether to include certain lands or to exclude them. There is a real concern that farmers could take out more areas than is necessary.
“It is important that there is a fair degree of flexibility given to farmers on marginal land as it is quite an inexact science determining whether land is eligible or not. This is particularly the case in large parts of the country where there is mountainous and other marginal areas, including those designated as Natura as well as commonage. However, this is a significant issue across the country in all counties where there is marginal land. In fact, most farms have some marginal lands and have adjusted for this.”
IFA is seeking an urgent meeting with the Department on this issue in the coming days.