The new farm partnership register is set to be signed off by the Minister by June or July, according to John Downey of the Meat and Milk Policy Division in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Speaking at the Teagasc National Collaborative Farming Conference recently he outlined some of the proposed detailed rules to those attending.

“The new rules will stay fairly close to the Milk Production Partnership rules. When you strip away the complexities of the milk quota regulations. The structure that is there for farm partnerships is very robust. We would see with some tweaking here and there it provides a very good grounding for the new model.”

The new rules will define partnership. Outlining who it applies to. Downey noted: “All lands that the partners have and all the entitlements and assets will go into the partnership.

He stressed: “The agreement is the bedrock. Our detailed rules will set out what we want in the farm partnership agreement such as the profit sharing ratio, details of all the lands in the partnership, confirmation the basic payments will go into partnership accounts etc. Critically in any there has to be a disillusion process.”

What will be different?

Downey highlighted: “In order to give a sense of business ethos to the farm partnership we will be asking that all farm partnerships have a business name and will be registered under the business names act.”

He added: “There will be a note in the rules on failure of one partner on disease or compliance issue because at the moment there are a few different approach’s and we need to tidy that up.”

Due to EU payments the new compliance verification process which is in place will be used. There will be an inspection process incorporated in this. So as to ensure partnerships are doing what they said they were.

According to Downey: “One of the big things the Department are trying to do is bring in a new reference number. There are different approaches being taken at the moment particularly in terms of herd numbers and submitting applications. This has resulted in anomalies in terms of payments which need to be cleared up with a new overarching number.”

“There will be no charge in moving MPPs to the new Register,” he commented.

The Department has asked Teagasc to write to all MPP members for permission to pass information to the Department. MPPs will be automatically transferred to the new Register on 1 April 2015 and checked for compliance with new procedures by the anniversary of their final renewal by Teagasc.

Downey said: “The entitlements held by each member of the MPP will be individualised, converged and then re amalgamated under the new Register.”

Supports for farm partnerships

  • Obvious drivers of partnership – additional land, economies of scale, work/life balance
  • Notwithstanding ending of quota Dept will continue to encourage the formation and maintenance of farm partnerships
  • Preferential stock relief
  • Multiplicity of thresholds TAMS; GLAS; DAS New start up costs under RDP
  • Top up for young farmers in Registered Farm partnerships.