Expected huge demand for key programs under the next CAP could mean some farmers miss out on programs due to a lack of funding, Agricultural Consultants Association President Noel Feeney has warned.
In conversation with the independent farming, Mr Feeney said he expected demand for schemes under the next CAP to be the highest yet and was concerned there might not be enough places for everyone applying for some schemes, particularly the flagship agri-environment scheme.
“It’s a conversation we hope we don’t have to have with customers — We hope that common sense is in place,” he said. “The problem is that not enough money was made available from day one.
“That needs to be looked into, we need to provide more money from whatever source to get as many people as possible into an environmental program. It’s a win-win situation for climate change, biodiversity and water quality. My fear is that it will be oversubscribed and there may be disappointed farmers.”
Mr Feeney also expressed concern about the significant changes farmers will face under the next CAP reform and urged the Department of Agriculture to do everything in its power to “avoid chaos” when next year new programs are introduced.
“We hope that Ireland’s GAP plan will be approved by the EU as soon as possible and avoid chaos. A work plan must be drawn up for farmers and advisors.
“What we don’t want is for all the systems to open in one day because that wouldn’t benefit anyone.”
The IFA raised further concerns that some farmers who exit the GLAS scheme in 2022 may not be paid under the successor AECM scheme in 2023.
The new AECM proposes participation of up to 50,000 farmers and there are plans to open up the program over at least two tranches. Tranche 1 is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year, with program participation beginning in January 2023. Tranche 2 is scheduled to open to applications in the fourth quarter of 2023, with program participation beginning in January 2024.
IFA Chair for Rural Development Michael Biggins said there were real income concerns if there was a lag between GLAS and ACEM caused by the tranche approach.
“It is simply unacceptable not to include all participants in the program in 2023. GLAS/AECM payments are an extremely important part of farmers’ income,” he said.
“It is important that all applicants receive payment in all tranches in 2023 and the program cannot be capped at 50,000 participants.
“I am calling on Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue to commit to every farmer receiving a 2023 Environment Program payment.
“This can be done either by paying an upfront payment in 2023 for Tranche 2 participants, similar to how REPS payments have been in the past. If that is not feasible, the 12,000 GLAS 3 participants will have to be updated for 2023.”
The AECM scheme envisages that up to 20,000 farmers in eight areas identified on maps published by the ministry would receive a payment of up to €10,500, with an average of €7,400, and would get involved via collaborative project teams.
The remaining farmers would participate in the general option and receive a maximum payment of around €7,300, with an average payment of €5,000.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/agri-business/huge-demand-could-see-farmers-miss-out-on-new-cap-schemes-41472199.html “Huge demand could mean farmers miss out on new CAP rules”