Environmental payments to farmers made under schemes such as ACRES and the eco scheme, should be disregarded for tax purposes, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has proposed in its Budget 2025 submission.

The INHFA submission has also proposed that farmers who deliver on recognised environmental measures, such as the planting of trees or hedgerows, should get a 100% tax write-off in year one for this capital expenditure.

In terms of designated land, the INHFA has called for a payment of €300/ha for every hectare of designated land.

The association has also called for a fund to be established to compensate landowners who are selling designated lands. This fund should make up the difference between the sale price of such designated land and the market value of undesignated land of similar quality, the INHFA claimed.

For sucklers, the INHFA is seeking a support scheme similar to Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP), paying up to €200/cow for the delivery of specific welfare measures, with access not dependent on Bord Bia membership. The scheme should target payments on up to 20 cows, with a front-loaded payment on the first 10 cows.

For the sheep sector, the INHFA is calling for the €8/ewe payment made under the Sheep Welfare Scheme to be maintained. The association has called for this payment to be added to the €12/ewe payment made under the Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS).

The hill farmer representative group has also sought substantial changes to the manner in which CAP payments are assessed in the means test for the Farm Assist Scheme.

The INHFA has called for all income from ACRES, BISS and eco-scheme to be disregarded in the means test for the Farm Assist Scheme.