While broadly welcoming yesterday’s CAP announcement by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney the ICMSA has confirmed to AgriLand that doubts exist regarding milk producers’ eligibility for the new GLAS scheme.

“We also want clarification regarding the payment of the proposed €2,000 top up payment,” an ICMSA spokesman added.

“As an organisation we want to ensure that all future support payments are made available to active farmers. In other words, those farmers who are actively producing food must receive the monies that will be made available. And if this requires the Department of Agriculture to formally define what constitutes an ‘active farmer’, so be it!”

The President of ICMSA, John Comer, said that the figures and thrust of yesterday evening’s announcement would be broadly welcomed and while emphasising that ‘the devil is in the detail’, he said it was important to acknowledge the Government’s efforts at fairness in the allocation of funding. In this regard, Mr Comer especially welcomed the decision not to introduce a coupled payment which his association had vigorously lobbied against on the grounds that it effectively diverted resources away from the most active farmers and this was a strategy which was always unwise, both in practice and principle.

On Pillar II, Mr Comer said his members would be satisfied on the parameters set out but he did question whether the funding envisaged for the new agri-environment scheme, GLAS, would be adequate and whether dairy farmers would meet the terms and conditions. He maintained that the reaction of farm families to Pillar I was likely to be much more restrained on the basis that – whatever way the calculation were done – average farmers were going to face substantial reductions.

Mr Comer estimated that someone who had received a Single Farm Payment of €10,000 last year could suffer a reduction of up to €1,250 “and that’s before any factoring-in of approximation”, said the ICMSA President.