The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is considering some changes to the rules relating to clawbacks on the sale of entitlements under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

At a recent meeting between the farm organisations and the department, possible options were discussed to address some of the concerns raised by farmer representatives during the consultation process for the CAP Strategic Plan (CSP).

These concerns broadly revolved around the long-term leasing of entitlements by landowners who were non-active farmers.

The department is, at present, proposing to temporarily remove the 20% clawback on the sale of entitlements without land for the years 2023 and 2024, but only for those years.

Furthermore, it is also proposed that a new clawback of 10% will apply on entitlements when over 80% of the entitlements are leased out for less than five years from 2023.

This second measure would only apply to leases established from January 1, 2023, the date at which the new CAP is set to come into force.

Certain allowances can be made in cases of inheritance and force majeure, such as where a farmer is unable to farm.

The proposal to implement the 10% clawback to those leasing out more than 80% of their entitlements for less than five years could affect 2,500 farmers, representing around 1.5% of all entitlements, with a value of around €9 million.

This change is designed to “synchronise” with the five-year term (2023 to 2027) of the new CAP, as well as national tax measures.

These proposals are to be discussed again by the department and farm organisations in the early days of December, with a view to agreeing these changes before the CSP is due to finalised and sent to the European Commission for approval before the new year.

Meanwhile this week, the European Parliament gave final approval for the new CAP deal that was agreed in the EU at the end of June.

This means that this CAP reform deal – including eco-schemes, front-loading of payments, capping and a new rate of convergence – has cleared all of its legislative hurdles.