Farmers should consider the possibility of flat-rate entitlement values coming into play after the current CAP finishes in 2027 when they are trading entitlements over the coming years, a top Department of Agriculture official has said.

Department entitlements chief Fran Morrin cautioned advisers that the possibility of entitlements fully flattening should be factored into decisions on the money paid for entitlements into the next few years.

Morrin suggested that the chance of a move to full flattening should inform decisions around entitlement trading, especially after 2025 when clawbacks will apply to their sale.

The possibility should also be considered by farmers entering into longer-term leases, to ensure there is “enough flexibility” in agreements to take account of possible changes to entitlements after 2027 as values are not guaranteed beyond this point.

“If I was a betting man – and this is pure speculation – you have to at least take it that it will be flat rate from 2028 onwards,” the official said.

The advisers heard that Ireland is somewhat of an exception in the EU with the differences in entitlement values in direct payments. “It is clear that payment entitlements are waning across Europe. There was a time that farmers trading entitlements were urged to consider possibility of flattening the majority of member states had payment entitlements and converging payment entitlements,” Morrin explained.