IFA says leased in entitlements should not be included in plans for €60k cap
The IFA has said that leased in entitlements should not be included in plans to introduce a stricter cap on farm payments under the Common Agricultural Policy.
The IFA made the call in its Manifesto for the European Parliament & Local Government Elections.
IFA President, Joe Healy says that while IFA supported the Commission proposal on capping, but leased in entitlements should not be included in the calculation as the ultimate beneficiaries of these payments were the landowner and not the farmer.
Overall Mr. Healy said that the issue of the leasing out of entitlements by landowners who had exited farming needed to be looked at in the context of the genuine farmer definition. “It is important that whatever system we have benefits the farmers who are doing the work and taking the business risks,” he said.
In its CAP reform proposals announced last year, the European Commission is proposing a reduction of payments above €60,000, with compulsory capping for payments above €100,000.
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed told a meeting of his fellow Agriculture Ministers that the Irish Government is open to capping and that Ireland has introduced mandatory capping at €150,000 as part of the current Common Agricultural Policy.
However, Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, Phil Hogan warned that such an approach would undermine the commonality of the CAP and the level playing field between EU farmers.
Describing capping as a sensitive issue, Minister Creed said “we are willing to implement further capping but this must be done in a straight forward manner.
He said a key issue for Ireland is that proposals to deduct labour costs must be voluntary for member states.
He said Ireland considers that the deductions would undermine the proposals on capping and that it would also be cumbersome to administer.
In its manifesto, IFA also said it supports the Commission proposals to bring up the per hectare payments of farmers below the average.
However, it said this should not be funded by cutting the payments of those with payments above the average.
“These farmers have already taken enough cuts. We need a detailed sectoral analysis of the impact of the convergence proposal as it risks making more farmers unviable,” Joe Healy said.
He also said the Minister for Agriculture must take on the issue of the ‘genuine farmer’ definition to ensure that payments are going to active productive farmers,” he said.