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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Up to €5m in organic payments to issue
Minister Andrew Doyle has announced that organic payments will commence this week.

Up to €5m in payments is to be issued to 1,100 organic farmers this month.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Andrew Doyle said he was “pleased to announce” that advance payments were due to issue from Friday 7 December.

Last year, a number of delays dogged organic payments and farmers will be relieved to receive payments on time after a tough 2018.

“I am delighted that we have met our commitment to commence these payments in December and at a rate far in excess of last year,” Minister Doyle said.

The scheme is one of our key drivers

“The scheme is one of our key drivers in increasing Irish organic output, which will help us exploit the vast market opportunities internationally for this product.”

Minister Doyle added that the latest figures indicated that there were now some 72,000ha under organic production in Ireland, an increase of almost 50% since 2014.

He also announced that additional investment items had been included for grant aid under the Organic Capital Investment Scheme.

For more information or to apply, click here.

New investment items include:

  • Mower - mounted without conditioner.
  • Mower - mounted with conditioner.
  • Mower - trailed (with /without conditioner.
  • Mulcher mounted.
  • Mulcher /mower self-driven.
  • Straw chopper (mounted).
  • Straw chopper (trailed).
  • Haybob (combination of both raking and tedding).
  • Forage rakes.
  • Forage tedders.
  • Spring tine grass harrow.
  • Chain harrow.
  • Inter-row cultivators.
  • Flame weeder.
  • Brush weeder.
  • Rotary cultivator weeder.
  • Combcut weeder.
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    Young Farmers Scheme and National Reserve payments hit accounts
    Payments have begun to issue on time for two key schemes which are worth approximately €332/ha.

    Payments through the Young Farmers Scheme (YFS) and the National Reserve have begun to hit farmers' accounts today, 6 December. Those who were deemed eligible for the scheme received letters last week outlining if they had been accepted to the scheme and the expected payment rates.

    The YFS provides a 25% top-up on entitlements which this year is worth €68/ha, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

    The National Reserve provides a top-up to low-value entitlements or entitlements for naked land, which does not currently have an entitlement. For naked land, the entitlement is based on the national average which is €184/ha.

    Greening is also worth an additional €81/ha to eligible farmers. Therefore, if a young farmer has applied to each of these schemes they will hope to receive approximately €332/ha.

    In 2017, €19.7m was paid out through the YFS, while €3.7m was paid out through the National Reserve.

    While the total funding through the National Reserve for 2018 is not yet clear, it is expected to be approximately €3.5m.

    Exclusive: maximum ANC payment to increase by €200
    The Irish Farmers Journal can exclusively reveal how the Department plans to share the ANC budget increase between farmers next year.

    The Department of Agriculture has proposed front-loading all ANC payment rates for 2019, favouring more disadvantaged areas and smaller farms, the Irish Farmers Journal can reveal.

    The highest rate for the mountain type grazing land, renamed Category 1, is to increase by €13/ha to €148/ha and apply to the first 12ha instead of 10ha previously.

    More severely handicapped land, now called Category 2, sees the introduction of a higher rate of €111/ha (up €7/ha) on the first 10ha.

    Less severely handicapped land (now Category 3), which includes newly eligible land, is also front-loaded with a new €93/ha rate (up €4.75/ha) on the first 8ha.

    Rates on the remainder of eligible land are to stay unchanged. This brings the maximum payment to €4,240 in Category 1 (up €202), €3,190 in Category 2 (up €70) and €2,685.50 in Category 3 (up €38).

    The proposed rates share next year’s €23m budget increase between new eligible farmers (€10m), increases to payment rates (€12m) and the phasing out of payments to farmers excluded from the scheme (€1m).

    Farm organisations are to discuss the proposal at next week’s Rural Development Programme monitoring committee before it goes to Brussels.

    The IFA has welcomed the proposal that would see all 100,000 farmers benefit, with hill chair Flor McCarthy highlighting the increase of over €800 in the maximum payment for mountain land over two years “at a time when the margins for the main enterprise in these areas, hill sheep, is particularly depressed”.