Comer calls for Minister and Commissioner to ‘make the political decision’ on supporting active farmers over non-active landowners
“The Commission has come and gone but serious questions remain undecided. The next phase must see Ireland come forward with hard and tested proposals in the three most critical areas, namely: the distribution of the SFP and ‘flattening’, the Base Year, and, thirdly, convincing the Commission that modern grassland management, as practised in Ireland, is fully compliant and compatible with the Commission’s ‘Greening’ objective. On the question of the SFP and ‘flattening’, there is most definitely merit in applying the EU formula already used for distribution amongst Member States to the formula for distribution amongst farmers inIreland. This could mean that where a farmer is currently receiving €120 per hectare and has a ‘gap’ of €150 relative to the average Irish recipient of €270, one third of that gap would be closed, meaning that he would receive an additional €50 per hectare on top of his existing €150 per hectare. We see a lot of logic in proceeding along those lines, or some variant of it, and we envisage that this increase would be inclusive of any ‘Greening’ entitlement”, said the ICMSA President, John Comer.
“On the question of addressing a rental bubble and supporting active farmer while fixing a Base Year, the Commissioner has stated that he has already introduced modifications on the Base Year specifically in response to Irish concerns. He may well have done but they are not adequate and we clearly we require a Base Year of 2011. Once that is established we see many means of ensuring protection for those farmers renting land at the moment and we have done considerable work on this from the legal angle. Ultimately, the question is whether the Minister and the Commissioner have the political determination to come down firmly on the side of those active farmers who rent the land, as opposed to non-active landowners. Once that decision is made – and it still remains to be made – then the rule changes can be obtained inBrusselsand ICMSA has got direct assurances on that matter. On the question of ‘Greening’, it is vital that normal re-seeding of grassland is not curtailed by rules under this heading. ICMSA has already requested Teagasc to come forward with the supporting science and we’ve been very encouraged by their positive response”, said Mr Comer.
Ends. 20 January 2012.
John Comer, 087-2057846
President of ICMSA
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office