Future funding of National Reserve ‘to come under scrutiny’ – ICMSA

The future funding of the National Reserve will “come under scrutiny” in the coming years, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Lorcan McCabe, the association’s deputy president, was speaking after the announcement yesterday, Thursday, January 23, of the 2020 National Reserve, a move that the ICMSA welcomes.

McCabe said that the announcement of the reserve “shows a consistency of support for young farmers in an ever-changing agriculture sector”.

McCabe added that it was a “positive” that the basic terms and conditions of the National Reserve has not changed, so that off-farm income limits, age and set-up requirements remain in place.

The ICMSA deputy president highlighted that the associations asked the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, at a recent meeting, to “consider future policy options to ensure that the benefits of entitlements comes to the farmers rather than the landowner”.

“With inflation eroding the value of entitlements and convergence having a negative impact on many farmers’ payments, the future funding of the National Reserve will come under scrutiny in the coming years,” McCabe warned.

He added: “We’re warning that a linear cut to the BPS [Basic Payments Scheme] – or Basic Income Support Scheme [BISS] as it will become known post-2020 – will not be tolerated by farmers.

Payments have been cut enough and farmers simply cannot afford additional reductions to their payments.

“Alternative funding sources will have to be developed for the National Reserve and it is essential and will become increasingly obvious that only people who are actually farming should receive payments going forward,” McCabe concluded.

Yesterday, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed that the National Reserve for 2020 will open in February.

Full details of the operation of the scheme will be available when the scheme opens for online applications in February 2020 to coincide with the opening of online BPS applications, the department added.

The closing date for receipt of applications under the scheme will be Friday, May 15, 2020.