Northern Ireland’s crop growers face many challenges under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Basic Payment Scheme, according to The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).

In preparation for greening DARD says that it is important for farmers to assess the availability of Ecological Focus Areas to determine the need for any fallow before spring crop planting is completed. It also says to check cropping rotations and areas of crop grown comply with crop diversification requirements.

DARD says that there is a greening calculator available on the its website which provides guidance on compliance. It says that mixed livestock and arable farmers should also check if any of the greening derogations apply to their business.

This year 30% of the money allocated to Northern Ireland for direct payments will be allocated to the greening payment.

DARD says it will be mandatory for applicants to the Basic Payment Scheme to comply with greening requirements. In return, it says they will receive a greening payment calculated as a percentage of the total value of entitlements activated by them each year.

Therefore, according to DARD over time, the value of the greening payment per hectare in Northern Ireland will move towards a flat rate payment at the same pace as the movement of the Basic Payment.

Non-compliance with greening requirements will result in reductions to the Greening Payment, it says.

DARD therefore says it is important that farmers understand the greening requirements and comply with them.