Ireland’s national strategic plan for the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday morning.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue’s plan must be signed off by the Irish Government and be sent to Brussels by 31 December for approval by the European Commission.

The Commission will then assess each member state’s plan to see if they comply with requirements and provide feedback.

The Commission has six months to approve plans, including accepting any necessary revisions, with plans coming into legislation from 1 January 2023.

Minister McConalogue’s plan totals €9.8bn in funding for almost 130,000 farm families, with the Irish exchequer accounting for €2.3bn.

Environmentally focused

The next CAP will commence in 2023, and is the most environmentally focused CAP plan ever seen, with a controversial 25% top-slicing of all farmers’ direct farm payments in order to fund eco-schemes.

Farm organisations have been divided on whether the 25% ringfencing should be maintained, with the IFA notably calling for it to be reduced and the INHFA insisting it should be maintained.

While sticking to his guns on the 25% share, the Minister yielded to growing calls for more inclusive measures to allow farmers to claim back some of their direct payments, by adding additional eco scheme measures in recent weeks. With extra options now available to farmers, the changes will still need to pass muster in Europe.

Flagship scheme

The oft-touted “flagship environmental scheme”, to be known as the Agri Environment Climate Measure (AECM), will be worth €1.5bn and includes a maximum payment of up to €10,000 for farmers who meet specific criteria and undertake certain environmental work on their farms.

For more, see this week’s Irish Farmers Journal.

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CAP strategic plan moves to final stages

Next CAP: the eight measures to claim an eco-scheme payment