The Department of Agriculture has estimated that over 90% of farmers will have a space for nature area of over 10%, according to Department official David Buckley.

Buckley told farmers present at the Irish Farmers Journal CAP information event in Cork on Tuesday night that following preliminary Department mapping, it is also estimated that a further 5% of farmers will have between 7%-10% of the land to qualify.

There is a requirement for 4% of farmers’ land to qualify for space for nature to receive the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) payments under the next CAP.

The Department mapping suggests that the vast majority of farmers will meet this threshold where more than 4% of their land can be classified as hedgerows, stonewalls, scrubland or other areas which deliver a biodiversity benefit.

The figures suggest that the majority of farmers will be eligible to qualify for the eco schemes available, under the plan.

“We’ve mapped them and we think we’re right in 95%- 99% of cases. We set them at 7% and 10% before we had the mapping done, but we could come under pressure from the Commission in two or three years’ time to increase [the 4% threshold],” Buckley said.


Department official Francis Morrin also urged farmers to inform the Department if they have changed their bank due to the closure of Ulster Bank. He reminded farmers that this is required for them to receive payments.