WELCOMING last week’s announcement of the establishment of a National Reserve for 2017, the deputy president of ICMSA, Pat McCormack said that it is absolutely essential that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine ensure that only properly committed young farmers or new entrants were considered for payment and that no kind of what he called ‘speculative arrangements’ were tolerated.
‘We have repeatedly pointed out that, in our view, the current rules in relation to the National Reserve are simply too loose and we have particularly emphasised our view that successful applicants should be required to farm for at least five years, while the maximum number of eligible hectares should be substantially reduced from the current 90ha which is almost three times the national average.
‘The Minister and the Department need to be very conscious that farmers with very small payments are contributing to this fund and they need to be reassured that only deserving cases are qualifying,’ said Mr McCormack.
The ICMSA deputy president also insisted that the fund for the National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme should be limited to the €5m available and there can be no further deductions from farmers’ BPS-Greening payments.
‘Farmers have already suffered a 5% cut in their payments to establish the National Reserve/Young Farmers Scheme and are likely to see their payments cut by an additional 0.4% as a result of this decision. This deduction is coming on top of convergence reductions, the threat of Brexit and CAP Post-2020, farmers will simply not tolerate further reductions in their BPS-Greening payments,’ concluded Mr McCormack.