Young Farmers Scheme and National Reserve payments hit accounts
Payments have begun to issue on time for two key schemes which are worth approximately €332/ha.

Payments through the Young Farmers Scheme (YFS) and the National Reserve have begun to hit farmers' accounts today, 6 December. Those who were deemed eligible for the scheme received letters last week outlining if they had been accepted to the scheme and the expected payment rates.

The YFS provides a 25% top-up on entitlements which this year is worth €68/ha, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

The National Reserve provides a top-up to low-value entitlements or entitlements for naked land, which does not currently have an entitlement. For naked land, the entitlement is based on the national average which is €184/ha.

Greening is also worth an additional €81/ha to eligible farmers. Therefore, if a young farmer has applied to each of these schemes they will hope to receive approximately €332/ha.

In 2017, €19.7m was paid out through the YFS, while €3.7m was paid out through the National Reserve.

While the total funding through the National Reserve for 2018 is not yet clear, it is expected to be approximately €3.5m.

129,000 farmers apply for BPS
Over 20,000 farmers also applied for transfers of entitlements ahead of Wednesday night's deadline.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that 129,000 farmers applied online for their 2018 BPS in advance of the 15 May deadline. This figure is in line with application numbers for previous years, he added.

Just under 8,000 applications came in the final 24-hour rush before Wednesday's midnight cut-off.

In addition, the Department received over 21,140 transfer of entitlement applications before the deadline.

31 May deadline for amendments

It is still possible to make changes to completed BPS applications until the end of this month without incurring a penalty. If this change means a farmer has insufficient land to use all of their entitlements, they can also submit an application for a transfer of entitlements by 31 May.

Farmers who missed the deadline can still lodge a BPS application until 9 June, but they will lose 1% of their payment.

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Opportunity to pay farmers for trapping carbon as part of CAP
Countries will have the option to pay for public goods provided by farmers within the new performance and results-based CAP.

European countries have been urged to consider an initiative that would see farmers paid to reduce, save, store or sequester carbon as part of the next CAP.

The “Farm Carbon Forest Initiative” would reward farmers who contribute to meeting national and EU-wide climate objectives, European Commissioner Phil Hogan said at a meeting of Agricultural Ministers in Brussels on 14 May.

Countries will have the option to pay for public goods provided by farmers within the new performance and results-based CAP. While the CAP framework allows for these payments, the political will to implement the schemes must come from a national rather than EU level.

Possibility

Commissioner Hogan encouraged countries to assess the possibility of including such an initiative in their CAP Strategic Plans. Under the new CAP proposals, each country will have to set targets in a strategic plan and design ways to meet those targets.

A correctly implemented scheme could deliver a climate and business dividend with more and more consumers demanding climate friendly, high-quality food and drink products.

“While progress has been made in reducing the impact of the agri food sector on the climate, we need to do more and we need to do it now,” the Commissioner stated.

“Emissions from agriculture account for around 10% of total non-CO2 emissions in the EU. If we want to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century, as promised in the Paris Agreement, we have to use all means at our disposal to not only increase carbon efficiency, but to also bring absolute emissions down whilst also securing food security.”

Dozens face GLAS clawback
Some €268,000 has already been clawed back from farmers who failed to complete their GLAS training requirements.

Farmers who fail to complete training requirements this year as part of GLAS 3 face the full clawback of GLAS money paid.

Some 53 out of the 48,818 farmers in the scheme have not yet undertaken their GLAS training.

These farmers have received no payment since 31 December 2018 and were not part of the €25m worth of balancing payments issued last week.

They have until 31 December 2019 or risk joining the 68 participants from GLAS 1 and 2 who failed to complete the required training and were excluded from the scheme.

A total of €268,000 was clawed back from these farmers, an average of almost €4,000 each.