The European Commission is close to defining what a ‘genuine farmer’ is.
Documents seen by the Irish Farmers Journal reveal that the Commission is planning a lengthy reference period, 2015 to 2019.
To be considered a genuine farmer, farmers must provide proof of having purchased at least two pairs of wellingtons in this time.
The Commission has said that for those farming in warmer EU climates such as Cyprus or Wexford, work boots will suffice.
Using holding size or even farmer weight would be difficult as both can fluctuate
While difficulty around defining a genuine farmer remains, the Commission proposal on the definition of small farmer is more clear-cut.
The Irish Farmers Journal understands that farmers under 165cm tall (5ft 5in) will be considered small.
A Brussels source clarified the reasoning: “Using holding size or even farmer weight would be difficult as both can fluctuate. Height was deemed a much fairer method to define a small farmer.”
For landowners who are concerned that they could be categorised as an ‘armchair farmer’, there is a potential loophole
Farmers will receive a top-up of €79 for every 2.5cm under this baseline height.
In an added layer of bureaucracy, farmers will be required to have their height measured by an independent NPHET-approved doctor in order to apply for their CAP payments.
For landowners who are concerned that they could be categorised as an ‘armchair farmer’, there is a potential loophole. Those farmers could choose to be registered as a ‘high stool farmer’ instead. This would indirectly lead to some of their payments being ringfenced and funnelled back to the malting barley sector, in particular.
Farmers who want to be recategorised must apply by 5pm on 1 April.