‘One size fits all approach to Greening does not reflect the reality of farming’

The ‘one size fits all’ approach to the implementation of Greening measures does not adequately reflect the reality of farming, according to Macra President Sean Finan.

Finan was speaking in relation to the three-crop rule and Ecological Focus Areas in the tillage sector.

He said that approach does not reflect the reality of farming, such as variations in land type and farming arrangements.

Finan was speaking following a meeting of European young farmers in Cologne, Germany recently.

The consultative process on Greening underway by the European Commission must take account of the experience of farmers and the reality of farming structures to ensure the effective implementation of greening measures.

Macra is encouraging young farmers to make a submission on europa.eu as part of the consultation process.

Young farmers, the new environmentalists, are committed to sustainable environmental management and are best placed to determine what delivers most efficiently and effectively on greening on their farms.

Young tillage farmer Martin O’Regan also attended the European conference and outlined some of the practicalities required to make greening even more effective for farmers and the environment.

“Introducing the option of developing a good crop rotation plan that is specific to farms would be far more effective in many circumstances than a rigid three crop rule.

“For collaborative type tillage arrangements such as share farming are particularly effected by burdensome greening bureaucracy.”

A whole farming approach for the active farmer in collective farming arrangements would be far more effective from an environmental perspective.

“Farmers with a number of farming arrangements to grow crops have to travelling distances to till, sow, apply crop protection and nutrients and harvesting three different crops at different times for each farming arrangement which is impractical, inefficient and is not necessarily achieving its greening objective.”

Finan said a greater flexibility and a menu of options at farm level in the implementation of greening to make the measure more farm specific and deliver on the objectives of the scheme and the environment is required as an output from the consultation process.