Decisions made over the next 12 months will define the shape of farm payments out to 2027.
The process of reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will finally conclude in 2021, having begun in 2018 under then Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan.
Policy makers love jargon and the next CAP will feature a host of new terms and abbreviations.
Here’s your definitive guide to CAP jargon for the next seven years:
1. Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS)
Many people had only been coming to terms with the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). For others, direct payments will always be known as the Single Farm Payment (SFP).
However, from 2023 onwards, its successor will be known as the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS).
It will operate on the same system of entitlements as the BPS, but the repackaging was considered more appealing due to the inclusion of the buzzword ‘sustainability’.
2. Eco schemes
Eco schemes will be the most important new terms for farmers. They will be the successor to greening, which accounted for 30% of direct payments over the last five years.
Greening rules will be incorporated into cross-compliance requirements.
Member states will be required to offer eco schemes to farmers, but they will not be required to take part. However, those opting out will lose a portion of their payment - between 20% and 30%.
Farmers will have the choice to opt into these environmental and climate schemes on a year-by-year basis and will have to carry out actions above and beyond basic cross compliance.
3. Enhanced conditionality
It wouldn’t be CAP without vague terms such as 'enhanced conditionality'. It will be a beefed-up version of cross compliance, including the greening requirements and new protections for wetlands and peatlands.
The inclusion of greening requirements among these basic rules will affect tillage farmers most.
Crop rotation and set-aside areas will go from attracting a greening payment of 30% to being a necessity to receive a payment at all. On top of this, they will have to opt into eco schemes to receive a full payment.
4. Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers (CISYF)
Supporting young farmers will remain a priority in the next CAP. Countries must set aside a minimum of 2% of their direct payment fund for young farmers.
The Young Farmer Scheme (YFS) was obviously too straightforward and it will be renamed the Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers (CISYF).
It will operate in the exact same way as an annual decoupled payment per eligible hectare.
There may also be installation aid as well, but that has not yet been decided.
5. Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS)
The last of the 'sustainability' supports will be the Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS).
This scheme will provide for the movement of payments from bigger- to smaller- or medium-sized farmers and will operate similar to the national reserve.
This will provide a redistributive payment per eligible hectare to farmers who qualify, likely those with the lowest-value entitlements. It will be financed from the capping of payments.
A €100,000 payment limit has been proposed in the next CAP, with gradual reductions for those receiving over €60,000, known as degressivity.
It is likely that there will be a loophole in the capping process, with farms able to deduct labour costs from payments before limited are applied.