Hogan’s CAP simplification measures dependent on 100% of farmers being online

It is understood that some elements of Phil Hogan’s CAP simplification package, such as the pre-checking of applications, will only be possible if all farmers in Member States complete their Basic Payment Scheme applications online.

Some of the EU Commissioner’s plans for simplification of the CAP are understood to require all applications to be made online, as much of the simplification process will involve the move to computer checks rather than manual checks.

Last year, in Ireland, some 93,000 farmers or 70% of all applicants, made their application online. However, there are approximately 40,000 farmers still using manual applications for the Basic Payment Scheme.

Following on from the roll out last year of mandatory applications for farmers who have a requirement under Greening, or are in partnerships, or are in the Organic Farming Scheme, in 2016 all GLAS applications will have to be made online.

The Department of Agriculture in Ireland has said that greater use of the online application system will deliver a range of benefits to farmers in terms of the accuracy and efficiency with which Basic Payment Scheme applications are processed.

In particular, it highlights that in-built validations on the system will help to ensure consistency between GLAS and Basic Payment Scheme applications for farmers.

It is understood that the Department hopes to see all applications made online by farmers within the next three years.

‘Changes put on the long finger’ – IFA

IFA Chairman Jer Bergin has demanded that the CAP simplification measures introduced by EU Commissioner Phil Hogan are available to Irish farmers and implemented for the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme application.

At a recent meeting with the EU Commission it was clearly pointed out to IFA that the measures can be introduced this year but it would now appear that Minister Coveney is having second thoughts on some aspects.

Jer Bergin said that while it would appear that the yellow card system and the new rules on eligibility penalties will be in place, the pre-checking of applications, as outlined by Commissioner Hogan, is being put on the long finger.

“This is unacceptable as the pre-checking of applications is a fundamental change that will allow farmers to amend their applications following checks and prevent mistakes. This will ensure a higher clearance of applications leading to a higher payout when BPS payments commence in mid-October,” he said.

Key Changes

Clean sheet

All farmers will start with a clean sheet in 2016 with regard to new regime on tolerances.

Preliminary checks

Under preventative preliminary cross checks of area aid applications, problems with applications will be identified early and farmers will have up to 35 days after the final date of submission to make corrections without any penalties

Yellow card system

As part of a yellow card system, a farmer who makes a first time mistake on an application will have the penalty applied reduced by 50% (if the over-claim is 10% or less). Their application will be checked in the following year and if everything is in order, there will be no further sanctions. This check will be mainly by remote sensing.

Reduced penalties for direct payment schemes

Where an over claim is greater than 3% and less than 10%, the sanction will be 1.5 times the over claim. In addition, a 50% reduction in the administrative penalty (to .75%) will apply for ‘yellow card’ first time over-claims that are between 3% and 10%.

In the case of farmers where the over claim is greater than 10%, the 1.5 times the percentage over claim will apply – previously where the over claim was over 20%, farmers lost all of their payment.

Small over-declarations that are up to 3% of the area declared or 2 hectares will not be penalised.

Examples

Example 1 (overclaim between 3% – 10%)

A farmer declares 33ha but only 30ha found

Under the current system:

Payment is on 30ha found, reduced by twice the difference = 3ha x 2 = 6ha
Farmer is therefore paid on 24ha

Under the new system:

Payment is on 30ha found, reduced by 1.5 times difference = 3ha x 1.5 = 4.5ha
Farmer is therefore paid on 25.5ha

If over-claim is found for first time, payment is on 30ha, reduced by .75 times difference = 3ha x .75 = 2.25 – the farmer is therefore paid on 27.75ha

Example 2 (overclaim greater than 10%)

Farmer declares 50ha but only 40ha found

Under the current system

A 100% penalty is applied and farmer receives no payment

Under the new system

The Farmer is paid on the 40ha found, reduced by 1.5 times difference = 10ha x 1.5 = 15ha
The farmer is therefore paid on 25ha.