There were a series of three Department of Agriculture public consultations throughout 2021 – in February, July and November – to which Macra na Feirme made submissions.
The final public consultation period closed on Wednesday 8 December. From then, the Department of Agriculture took into account any submissions, prepared the final CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) document and submitted it to the European Commission by the deadline of 31 December 2021 but that isn’t the end.
It is then up to the European Commission to assess each and every member state’s plan to see if they comply with the requirements and feedback will be provided.
The European Commission then has six months to approve the plans and any recommended changes, should there be any. The plans should come into legislation from 1 January 2023.
Macra na Feirme held several CAP consultations throughout the year, along with an excellent presentation night given by Ted Massey of the Department of Agriculture on the state of play of CAP in March.
There were a total of eight CAP farm walk and talk events held across the country in August.
These walks were a great opportunity for members to get back out and about, but also a chance to gather members’ views ahead of the close of the CSP consultation, along with an online consultation night.
Another three CAP tour consultations were held in person at the end of November and the start of December.
The agricultural affairs committee was also actively updated and consulted on CAP during committee meetings.
Macra na Feirme had several detailed priorities throughout the process from the definition of the active farmer to forgotten farmers, the Land Mobility Service and women in agriculture.
These priorities also included the provision of an on-farm succession scheme, which Macra na Feirme believes is one of the main elements that remains unresolved in the draft CSPs.
Macra na Feirme’s proposal insisted on sufficient delivery for both the older farmer exiting farming and the younger farmer who is starting in their career.
The provision of financial instruments was also a key priority for Macra na Feirme.
Macra members would be in favour of a mix of grant aid support and access to credit measures to ensure the balance of investment is met.
The access to financial instruments to support farm investments and working capital should be facilitated and better adapted to the investment needs and higher risk profiles of new entrants.
Support to the new generation of farmers could be combined with the appropriate incentives to facilitate the exit of the older generation and increase land mobility.
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