There is growing concern over the future value of farmers’ entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme.

Private agricultural consultant Tom Canning said advisors need clarity now on the implications of a change over to a new system in 2023.

Advisers need clarity now on the implications of a change over to a new system in 2023, he said.

“We do not want to see a repeat of 2015, where farmers that were leasing out their entitlements could have lost them to the national reserve if they could not prove they were an active farmer in that year.

“We are involved in preparing a lot of long-term leases at the moment, and while we are building, we are including a clause in the lease that it may have to be amended to take account of changes in the leasing of entitlements regulation, we cannot guarantee that a farmer can retain these entitlements after 2023,” he said.

Landlord system

Canning told the Irish Farmers Journal that the system as it operates currently is developing “a type of landlord system” as farmers can lease out their entitlements for as long as they want.

“Farmers without entitlements on their lands are at the mercy of the market, and they are not guaranteed that they will be able to secure entitlements in any one year. As a result, they have no security year by year,” he said.

He added that the Department has informed advisors that they have no plans to limit the amount of time that a farmer can lease out entitlements before they are forced to sell them. Canning said that the 20% clawback on the sale of entitlements without land discourages the sale of these entitlements and encourages farmers to lease them instead.