Hogan quashes concerns around part-time farmers’ CAP payments

Concerns in relation to whether part-time farmers could continue to draw down payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 were quashed today.

The EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, assured politicians today that there is no change on the cards when he appeared before a meeting of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Committee on Rural and Community Development.

The commissioner outlined that he had received a letter on the matter and he was quick to put any concerns to bed.

I don’t where this notion came from that we are actually going to prevent part-time farmers from getting money.

Commissioner Hogan gave an “absolute assurance” that part-time farmers will continue to receive CAP payments as they do now.

“The part-time farmer shouldn’t have anything to worry about,” he said.

Concerns had been raised that part-time farmers would be restricted from receiving CAP payments because they also had an off-farm job and that agriculture wasn’t their “principal” source of employment.

Active farmer definition

Meanwhile, the commissioner explained that – as part of the upcoming CAP reform – he has given the responsibility of defining an active farmer back to the member state.

He told the political representatives present that they would be having that discussion with the “Department of Agriculture and the minister of the day”.

Continuing, he said: “The last time we had this in the reform, they couldn’t agree in the European Parliament and in the Council of Ministers about what the definition of an active farmer was.

So, therefore, they couldn’t agree on what was the definition of an active farmer for 28 member states. By bringing it back to each member state, of course there will be differences of what an active farmer is; but, certainly, it will be an interesting debate.

As well as this, Commissioner Hogan underlined that member states will not receive approval for their individual CAP strategic plans unless they are doing “something substantial for young farmers”.

“We will take a strong line on this,” he concluded.