About 95 per cent of farmers will qualify for eco-scheme payments under the forthcoming CAP scheme “without doing anything” in relation to climate, environment, water quality and biodiversity.
At a high point at an event hosted by the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Pat Murphy, Teagasc’s director of environmental knowledge transfer, said the number emerged from a Department of Agriculture analysis of the program, which is due to roll out next month.
The Eco-Scheme will account for about 25 percent of farmers’ direct payments and is expected to require most farmers to take two environmental actions in order to claim the payment.
Speaking at last week’s ‘Meeting our agricultural climate goals: Pathways to success’ conference, Mr Murphy said: ‘The environmental challenges are so great right now that we need to use all the tools at our disposal effectively.
“And, controversially in my opinion, 25 percent of payments to farms go to eco-programs, but an analysis of the current system by the department shows that 95 percent of farmers will meet the requirements of this system by doing nothing.”
During his presentation on the role of policy in helping the agricultural sector meet its climate goals, Mr. Murphy stressed “the need to accelerate policy development and implementation”.
“We now have a choice where either agriculture does what needs to be done to meet climate change and water quality targets, or it is done to agriculture.
“And in that situation, it’s going to take away from agriculture the ability to renew its path to improvement, and that’s not a space we want to be in.”
Referring to fertilizer policy, Mr Murphy warned that relying on knowledge transfer to encourage the use of proprietary urea would not be fast enough, adding that “there is a need for regulation in this area”.
On land use policies, he warned that the sector’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030 is “inconsistent” with increased cattle numbers.
“We have a lot of sprawling farms and we need to get closer to a point where these are effectively managed for nature rather than potentially managed for agriculture, and that’s a fundamental shift in thinking.”
The Department of Agriculture did not respond to inquiries from Farming Independent on questions related to Eco Scheme requirements.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/schemes/95pc-of-farmers-to-qualify-for-eco-scheme-payment-without-doing-anything-42214687.html 95 percent of farmers qualify for the eco-scheme payment ‘without doing anything’