Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue is looking to push back the introduction of new CAP rules for farmers on peat soils by one year, the Irish Farmers Journal can reveal.
Department officials are currently engaging with the European Commission to seek a January 2025 start date for the introduction of new minimum standards for farmers on peatlands and wetlands under Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) 2 of the CAP.
The CAP strategic plan approved last year pointed to January 2024 as the expected start date for the peatland protection measures.
The 12-month delay is hoped to make use of the “maximum flexibility” granted in CAP regulations and allow stakeholders more time to identify the lands where the new rules will apply.
It will also allow more time to discuss the measures that affected farmers will have to put into action to claim CAP payments with a view to reaching a decision in the summer of 2024.
Impacted farmers are now expected to be notified before the end of 2024 of the requirements they face if claiming CAP funds from January 2025, the Department has said.
Both farm groups and environmental organisations are among the stakeholders sitting on the committee which deals with the CAP plan.
Minister McConalogue has previously stated that the new rules will try to “facilitate normal agriculture practice” as far as is practical.
The introduction of new standards for peat soils through GAEC 2 rules was contentious when negotiations for the 2023-2027 CAP were ongoing.
A “ban on ploughing” and the “use of min till or no till cultivation” are the only examples mentioned in the CAP strategic plan of the standards which could apply.