There is no threat of any farm scheme being subject to a cut in payments should the sector fail to meet its carbon targets, certainly not until the end of 2027, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has stated.

The minister firmly rejected any possibility that farmer payments would be affected, as public comments from Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan, among others, had suggested.

The Taoiseach said that if sectoral targets are missed, the relevant department and sector would pay.

“There is no question of there being any cut to farmers’ payments,” Minister McConalogue said.

“We’re setting out the funding for the next six years, to bring us up to 2027. The Government’s national co-financing has been very clearly set out,” the minister told the Irish Farmers Journal on Thursday.

“Pillar I payments, which come from Brussels, are obviously totally clear. So is Pillar II.

“Farmers will be entering five-year contracts, five-year commitments in relation to all of the schemes. That money is guaranteed, and there is no question whatsoever in relation to those payments,” he said.

“Outside of that, year-on-year we will also be looking to see how we can support farmers further,” he continued.

“Our entire mission will be to support farmers and they can and will deliver on our sectoral target.”

He concluded: “To be unequivocal, there is no question whatsoever in relation to farmers’ payments.”

€9m Investment

The minister spoke to the Irish Farmers Journal at Johnstown Castle, where he was turning the sod on Teagasc’s new €9m National Agricultural Sustainability, Research and Innovation Centre.

He described the new development as “pivotal”.

“Johnstown Castle has been very important in driving sustainability research. The MACC curve was developed here. Low-emission slurry spreading and protected urea usage were researched and proven here,” he said.

“With this €9m development, Teagasc will be at the forefornt of research and innovation to equip farmers with the pathways to meeting our sectoral targets.”