There are fears that a proposed change to eligible hectare rules in the draft CAP proposals could see farmers on peat soils lose payments.

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) is calling on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to intervene and ensure the proposal on the management of peat soils is withdrawn.

The European Council of Ministers proposal will create a situation that agricultural activity on these soils is no longer viable, according to INHFA president Colm O’Donnell.


He warned that farmers will be required to carry out actions that will make farming activity impossible.

“If this happens, then the land impacted will not be viewed as an agricultural area making the area concerned ineligible for CAP payments.

“[It] is a major concern especially for the estimated 50,000 farmers across one million hectares with varying amounts of peat soils.

“For these farmers, the application of GAEC 2 under the proposed council text will create another designation,” O’Donnell warned.

He said that the council was aware of the potential impact and had recommended introducing a derogation to ensure payments continue to these farmers.


He questioned the move, stating: “Surely a basic principle in developing conditions around any of the GAECs is that farmers can deliver on these conditions. Otherwise, they are just setting us up to fail.”

The derogation model already existing and was not working for farmers in SAC and SPA areas, O’Donnell cautioned.

Recent figures show that out of 927 derogation requests, only 13 farmers were successful.

He stressed the need for intervention from Minister McConalogue.

“How many farmers in his own constituency will be adversely impacted if the council proposal is adopted?

“This is why it must be withdrawn in favour of the compromise text from the European Commission and Parliament,” O’Donnell concluded.

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