The latest leg of Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue’s nationwide CAP consultation tour took place in Raphoe Mart this week.

Numbers in the audience were limited to a select number of invited farm organisation representatives and farmers.

The implications of convergence and eco schemes proved to be two major themes of the event.

The proposed convergence rate of 85% is proving divisive in Donegal, with a major shakeup in entitlement values across the county likely.

Patrick Rooney, who represents the Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA), said that he supports full convergence of payments and questioned how many other EU member states had already done this.

However, Donegal IFA chair Brendan McLoughlan argued that this level of convergence would hit a lot of small farmers who had relatively high entitlement values.

When speaking on convergence, Minister McConalogue was clear about the future direction of the policy.

“There is no doubt about the direction of travel. If we look at the next CAP (2028), we will see full flattening of payments. It’s just about seeing how far we go with it in this CAP,” he said.

Eco schemes

All farm organisations agreed that easily deliverable eco schemes were vital to protect farmers' payments.

Under the new CAP proposals, 25% of Pillar I payments will be deducted from farmers' payments. The funds will be given back to farmers on a flat per-hectare payment upon taking part in new eco schemes.

The representatives were also united in their belief that new agri environmental schemes would be vital in providing new income streams to farmers, but again warned that the measures must be workable.

Listen to the reaction from the event below: