Entitlements for the current Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) could still be used as the basis for allocating money to NI farmers in the longer term.
A new system of farm support is expected to include a basic resilience payment, which will be based on the area farmed by each applicant.
“It is likely that some component of an area-based regime using entitlements will be part of the future agricultural support regime,” a DAERA spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal.
Other potential ways of distributing the new payment, such as a flat rate payment per acre for all land, or different payment rates based on land type, do not appear to be DAERA’s preferred choice.
Most farmers who need extra BPS entitlements for the 2021 scheme year have been opting to lease entitlements, rather than buy them
It means that the system of claiming entitlements linked to land farmed, and a market for trading entitlements, will remain in NI.
Most farmers who need extra BPS entitlements for the 2021 scheme year have been opting to lease entitlements, rather than buy them in an outright sale. This stems from the uncertainty surrounding how support payments will be allocated after the 2021 scheme year.
That might give farmers more confidence to buy entitlements now rather than lease
However, while the Department spokesperson was unable to definitively state that 2021 entitlements will still be used in 2022 and beyond, as a final decision on any new area-based scheme has not been made as yet, they did point out that any change will be gradual.
That might give farmers more confidence to buy entitlements now rather than lease, although ultimately it comes down to each individual’s attitude to risk.
At the start of the last CAP reform period in 2015, DAERA decided to abolish all existing entitlements and establish new ones based on the area farmed that year. It was a major upheaval to the system.
The new basic resilience payment is expected, over a period of time, to bring in lower payment rates per ha than the current BPS, but other optional measures will be available on top of it. This could include new environmental schemes and headage payments.
“Any change to new support will be gradual and the department will signpost this as soon as it is possible to do so,” the DAERA spokesperson confirmed.