INHFA meeting to seek increased support for most disadvantaged areas
The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association is holding a rally on the ANC scheme and the next CAP this Friday.

The INHFA has called a national rally "to target the imbalance in the ANC scheme and to ensure the new CAP deal will deliver for all farmers" at 8pm this Friday.

The public meeting will take place in the Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, Co Mayo.

As new ANC rates are to be decided following the review of areas eligible to the scheme, INHFA president Colm O’Donnell said the payment bands need to reflect the constraints.

As revealed by the Irish Farmers Journal this week, the Department of Agriculture's proposal is to focus the highest increase on smaller hill farms, with a maximum payment boost of €200 in that category.

Conditions

O'Donnell also outlined concerns over environmental conditions proposed to access basic payments under the CAP after 2020.

"These CAP proposals could easily lead to a situation where intensive farmers on dryer soils would be allowed drive on and increase production while farmers on the hills and lowland farmers on wetter soils would be expected to protect the environment and take on the full burden of climate change through carbon sequestration measures," he said.

The meeting will hear from agriculture spokespeople for Fianna Fáil Charlie McConalogue and Sinn Féin Martin Kenny, independent TD Michale Fitzmaurice, MEPs Luke Ming Flanagan and Marian Harkin and a Government spokesperson.

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Aim beef compensation at genuine farmers, Tipperary IFA meeting told
How to split up the €100m Brexit beef fund was the main focus of discussion at the North Tipperary IFA meeting in Nenagh on Tuesday night.

“Factories can’t get it, factory feedlots can’t get it, factory agents or dealers buying finished cattle in marts shouldn’t get part of it – this fund is aimed at genuine farmers, the finishers and suckler farmers, and this is who we represent,” IFA treasurer Tim Cullinan told the North Tipp IFA meeting in Nenagh on Tuesday night.

IFA North Tipperary chair Imelda Walsh, IFA treasurer Tim Cullinan and Cork Central IFA chair Harold Kingston were all in agreement on who can’t get part of the €100m. Who exactly should get compensation is to be discussed at IFA national council (the organisation's governing body) next week.

The fund is not going to be able to satisfy everyone. It will have to be looked at primarily as a finished beef price disturbance fund, so that means finished animals

A €100m fund (€50m from the EU and €50m from the Irish Government) was announced in the last week as part of a campaign started by IFA after the UK voted to leave the EU. Baseline figures on losses to farmers were calculated on 2015 slaughter data.

Capping compensation

At the meeting in Nenagh, farmers pointed out that if the compo fund is spread too thinly, it will be no good to anyone. Some farmers put forward the case for capping the compensation to a certain number of animals per farm or maybe directing it at farms with smaller basic payments. A number of farmers suggested store and weanling producers also suffered so they need to be looked at.

Harold Kingston said: “The fund is not going to be able to satisfy everyone. It will have to be looked at primarily as a finished beef price disturbance fund, so that means finished animals. The €50m funded by the Irish Government might have more flexibility and that maybe can be targeted more towards suckler farmers.”

Speaking on Monday, European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan said how the €100m Brexit beef fund will be distributed will be a decision for the Minister for Agriculture and the beef industry.

He said: “We didn’t launch the inter-service consultation within the Commission yet, which we will launch this week. Therefore, it will be a matter for Minister Creed to sit down with the beef sector to work out how it’s going to be paid.”

Burnout

Also at the meeting, Harold Kingston outlined his struggles with burnout as previously very well described in the Irish Farmers Journal and subsequently on the Late Late Show.

Galway IFA chair Anne Mitchell also gave a very good summary of pensions and the Fair Deal scheme. One of her key points was that if a person was still paying into a pension and approaching pension age then they should check out what they might be due before reaching pension age. She was clear there are potentially some small changes that can be made that can make a big difference in terms of payout.

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Farm Finance: deadline of 31 May for BPS amendments
Late amendments after 31 May regarding the addition of parcels/plots or amendments to claimed areas will be subject to penalties.

According to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, 129,000 applications were submitted online for the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

The figure is similar to previous years, with just shy of 8,000 applications submitted in the 24 hours before Wednesday’s midnight deadline. There were also 21,140 transfer of entitlement applications submitted.

Attention has now turned to BPS amendments, with the Department advising applicants to make necessary changes before the 31 May deadline, after which stage penalties may arise. Where amendments concern the addition of parcels/plots or a change to an incorrectly claimed area, then this must be submitted via the online system by the 31 May deadline.

Late amendments with additional parcels/plots or amended claimed areas will be accepted up to and including 9 June 2019, but payment on the parcel(s) concerned will be reduced by 1% for each working day in this period that the amendment is late.

The terms and conditions of the scheme add that an applicant may withdraw land, reduce the claimed area of a parcel or change its use from eligible to ineligible (for example, the transfer of a house site) without incurring a penalty at any time after the 31 May 2019 deadline, provided the following aspects have been met:

  • The Department has not notified you about any issues concerning your 2019 BPS application.
  • You have not been notified of an on-the-spot inspection.
  • An on-the-spot inspection does not reveal any non-compliances for the parcel(s) concerned.
  • You have not been either fully or partially paid under the BPS in respect of 2019.
  • In addition, it is permitted to correct obvious or innocent errors at any time after the 31 May 2019 closing date for amendments.

    The declared use of a crop can also be changed, provided the original crop was eligible for payment. The Department states that each request to correct an obvious or innocent error will be considered on its individual merit.

    You may also change a declared crop use, provided that the original crop was eligible for payment.

    You are not entitled to alter the crop use from an ineligible to an eligible crop.

    In the case of all amendment options listed above, amendments will not be authorised where the Department has:

  • Already informed you of irregularities in the application; or
  • Given notice of its intention to carry out an on-the-spot inspection; or
  • Where an on-the-spot inspection reveals irregularities.
    129,000 farmers apply for BPS
    Over 20,000 farmers also applied for transfers of entitlements ahead of Wednesday night's deadline.

    Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that 129,000 farmers applied online for their 2018 BPS in advance of the 15 May deadline. This figure is in line with application numbers for previous years, he added.

    Just under 8,000 applications came in the final 24-hour rush before Wednesday's midnight cut-off.

    In addition, the Department received over 21,140 transfer of entitlement applications before the deadline.

    31 May deadline for amendments

    It is still possible to make changes to completed BPS applications until the end of this month without incurring a penalty. If this change means a farmer has insufficient land to use all of their entitlements, they can also submit an application for a transfer of entitlements by 31 May.

    Farmers who missed the deadline can still lodge a BPS application until 9 June, but they will lose 1% of their payment.

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