Almost every Irish farmer has successfully claimed the greening payment every year, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed to the Irish Farmers Journal.

In fact, only 31 applications out of a total of 745,216 basic payment applications were denied the greening payment in the six years since it was introduced.

In 2015, the first year of the greening payment, only one of the 126,778 applicants missed out on greening. In subsequent years, that number went only slightly up (Table 1).

The year 2019 saw 13 farmers fail to get their greening payment, the highest number to miss out in a single year. That still means that 99.989% of farmers received 30% of their basic payment.

Introduced in 2015 as part of the Ciolos reforms, the greening payment saw 30% of every farmer’s entitlement value withheld until the greening requirements were met. Each qualifying farmer received 30% of their own “payment pot”.

The Department of Agriculture stated “the greening payment is paid as a top-up to the basic payment and therefore all BPS applicants will receive a greening payment.

The only exception will be the small number of cases who have not yet received a greening payment due to outstanding issues with regards to their greening obligations (crop diversification and/or ecological focus areas)”.

Critics have said that greening has been too easy to achieve. Farmers would hold they are only getting their “own money” back, based on historical payments.

Under the current CAP proposals, greening is being scrapped.

The 30% of Pillar I payments currently used for greening will almost be subsumed into eco-schemes (at least 20%, possibly 25%), a bigger young farmer fund (up from 2% to 3%) and the national reserve (2%).

However, convergence is only being counted after all these payments have been removed from the basic payment pot.

Many have been arguing that the removal of the greening payment is itself convergence. These figures, which show that only five farmers a year on average have failed to receive their greening payment, strengthen that argument.