Rural Development Reports
Rural Development Council Report July 2020
Activity Since Last National Council
- IFA had a meeting with the Department of Agriculture on June 11th at which analysis took place on the current situation on TAMS.
- At the close of tranche 17 closes on June 6th 5,000 farmers had applied. The selection process for these farmers will take place in the first half of July. There was a higher number in this tranche as the tranche had been extended by 6 weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions. IFA had already raised concerns in relation to this extension, as many farmers had expected to start work by mid-year for completion by next winter.
- It is expected that 80% or about 4,000 farmers will get approval. IFA is insisting that there must be no delay in approvals being issued now.
- IFA secured had secured a concession, that where a farmer does not have full planning permission at close of tranche 17 (June 6th) that the application will be still accepted but that full planning permission must be secured by time of selection assessment. Some farmers may have difficulty with this issue and IFA has raised this with the Department.
- Pre-approval or pre-payment inspections had recommenced since mid-May and IFA has not had any reports of issues arising. About 5% of farmers are inspected.
- Following the extension of 3 months to complete work IFA has asked the Department for flexibility to allow farmers more time where there are still issues with builders and contractors as some are not back at full capacity.
- Tranche 18 opened on the June 7th and will close on Aug 7th.
- So far in TAMS around 28,795 approvals have been issued to proceed but of these 5,000 have not commenced any work and are likely to forfeit their applications to the scheme.
- Payments have been made so far to 14,962 farmers worth €212m. The average pay out per week is about €1.5m.
- When the carryover allocation from TAMS 1 is taken into account, €223m has been spent out of the 2014 – 2020 RDP allocation of €395m.
- In the 2020 Book of estimates, €82.5m is allocated, with about €38m paid out to date. There are probably 2 more tranches left with the scheme due to close on 31st Dec next. However, under EU transitional rules IFA will be looking for the scheme to continue into next year.
- In Budget 2021 IFA will be seeking an allocation of €120m.
- The Minister recently announced that the amendment to TAMS would be sought from Brussels to increase the investment limit for pigs and poultry from €80,000 to €200,000. An EU decision is awaited.
2020 BPS/ANC Schemes
- At closing date for BPS 15th May around 129,000 had applied under 2020 scheme.
- IFA will be insisting that maximum flexibility will be sought in the current circumstances to ensure all payments are made on time.
- inspections have commenced following the conclusion of the pre checking arrangements in the 3rd week in June.
- IFA has secured a commitment that any farmer whose file is out for inspection at payment time will not have his payment held up. In previous years this had held up payments.
- The payment of BPS will commence on Oct 16th next with a 70% payment. The remaining 30% will be paid on Dec 1st.
- In relation to ANCs, IFA are looking for 100% pay-out on the 3rd week of September.
- There are no changes to the ANC Scheme for 2020. There have been some concerns raised with regard to the stocking rate criteria but there are no changes at this stage. Cases will be assessed on an individual level.
- On overall stocking limit of 0.15LU/Ha for a 7- month period and the average of 0.15LU/HA over the 12 -month period.
- The 2020 rates of payment do not change and the allocation is of the order of €250m.
- The Department’s LPIS review is continuing in counties Meath, Cavan, Longford and Leitrim. Meetings have been deferred.
- At the last Charter meeting in June IFA insisted that the review must not hold up payments.
- Of the 315 townlands which have appealed, 72 were successful with 22 townlands coming in for the first time.
- The Department have now written to all farmers who appealed. However, for those that were unsuccessful they have not given any detail as to why they were excluded and are directing them to the Ombudsman. IFA has called on the Minister to provide this to farmers.
- Areas that were successful having been previously excluded will get full payment restored this year. New areas will get full payment also. For those not successful having previously been in, they will qualify for a 40% payment in 2020 will get no payment in 2021.
- At this stage 47,315 farmer have got their full 2019 payment worth €202.1m. There are still about 1,200 due their balancing 15% payments. The Department have indicated to IFA that most of these have some problem with their plan. And will be paid out as problems are resolved.
EU Transitional Rules
EU Transitional proposals have now been passed by the European Parliament and EU Council and will now be finalised in trialogues. And passed into legislation later this month.
- The Rural Development Committee will be focussing on getting an extension of GLAS 1 & 2 plans for at least another year or 2 (depending on agreement on the next CAP), TAMS, BDGP, Sheep Welfare, and ANC’s.
- At the recent meeting with the Department, IFA set key principles for an extension which include a continuation of all measures and payments, a simple process to extend and that provision is given to allow new entrants and 2,000 AEOS farmers excluded to be allowed into the scheme.
Farm Assist/RSS Review
- IFA has welcomed the Programme for Government commitment that a review of the Farm assist and the RSS scheme will take place.
- A key issue will be the income assessment process with more flexibility been sought.
- Currently there are 6,000 farmers on Farm assist and 3,200 on the RSS.
- In Budget 2021 IFA will be seeking an increase in the farm income disregard from 30% t0 50%.
EU/COPA Developments on CAP
- IFA is engaging with COPA and the EU commission on various aspects of CAP such as the transitional regulations, relaxation of BPS rules including inspections, applications dates and earlier payment dates for 2020 schemes.
- Ongoing dialogue with the Department of Agriculture to ensure a case is made to Brussels on changes to GLAS, ANC and TAMS schemes.
- The Rural Development Committee planning to meet the Department of agriculture once the transitional regulations are agreed later this month.
- A further National Committee meeting (last one was on 25th June) will be held once details a emerge on the transitional arrangements.