The next few months will be a defining period for farmers with two significant developments on the horizon. First up is the outcome of Budget 2022.

The European Commission approved transitional arrangements in 2020 providing funding for schemes to be rolled over to 2021 and 2022. However, this is dependent on funding being matched where applicable by national Exchequer funding.

There is a large portfolio of agri schemes falling under this banner. Ensuring these schemes are rolled over to 2022 is vital for family farm income.

While commodity prices are running at a higher level across all the main production systems in 2021, direct payments remain a vital component of family farm income and, in some cases, account for 100% of income at farm level.

We also have a county-by-county breakdown of payments which shows just how important the main agri schemes are in bringing funds into these counties and generating economic activity in rural areas.

Direct payments are the second area where the next few months will define and shape their future. The Department of Agriculture is developing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan 2023-2027 and considering submissions received by farmers and industry stakeholders during the recent CAP consultation phase.

There is a huge amount at stake, with the rate of convergence, redistribution of payments and eco schemes likely to bring about huge changes to the current CAP, many of which will lead to incomprehensible changes at farm level.

Area-specific challenges

The European Innovation Partnership Agricultural (EIP-AGRI) schemes introduced in recent years have been successful in researching and exploring schemes and initiatives specific to certain areas and will be fundamental in developing initiatives that address area-specific challenges. Finally, we look at the EIP-AGRI projects in place and also details the suite of projects introduced on an interim basis under transitional arrangements in 2021 and 2022.