Last push by ICSA on CAP Reform

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) CAP chairman Billy Gray has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD, to ensure that the active farmer with the modest payment is shielded to the greatest extent possible from cuts under any CAP re-distribution, while making provision for extra payments that should also be targeted at active farmers.

Ahead of the crucial Farm Council talks in Luxembourg next week, Mr Gray said: “The minimum payment on every hectare is the wrong way to go.  We need a minimum payment per hectare but it must be targeted at young and active farmers who have a track record of being productive.  We also need to have limits on how many hectares qualify for an increase in order to ensure that we can give the money where it is most needed. It is absolutely wrong that an inactive farmer could get a minimum payment on hundreds of hectares which up to now have been either rented out or not farmed productively.”

Gray reiterated the ICSA position that a further cut of 7 per cent to farmers’ single payments to fund a suckler premium of €50 and a ewe premium of €10 will be of no great benefit to anyone except meat factories.  “Suckler cow numbers have increased in the past three years and farmers need the flexibility to reduce numbers when prices and profitability come under pressure.”

In summary ICSA’s position is:

  • ICSA is in favour of minimising cuts to active farmers – especially those with modest Single Farm Payments
  • Not in favour of a minimum payment for every hectare.  Strongly supporting a much higher minimum payment per hectare, targeted at young and active farmers who have low or no payments at present through no fault of their own
  • Supporting the use of Pillar 2 for an agri-environment scheme targeted at low income cattle and sheep farmers
  • Supporting the Use of Pillar 2 for targeted suckler and sheep schemes
  • Not in favour of cutting Pillar 1 payments in order to reintroduce a coupled payment which could have lots of red tape and quota restrictions

Ram with ewes. Photo O’Gorman Photography