A number of key decisions relating to entitlements from 2015, which had overwhelming support from stakeholders in the recent Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform consultation have been announced this morning by Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.

It has been decided that all existing entitlements will be cancelled at the end of 2014 and there will be a re-allocation based on the area of land declared in 2015.

“In conjunction with this, I will not be opting to restrict the number of entitlements that can be established in 2015 to the number of eligible hectares in 2013. Furthermore, the basis for calculating the initial value of new entitlements allocated in 2015 will be derived from the value of SFP entitlements held in 2014 rather than entitlements activated in 2014,” the minister outlined.

She continued: “I can also confirm that the EU Commission adopted a CAP Reform Delegated Act on Tuesday 11 March 2014 and the provision which has particular relevance to active farmers and conacre land remains unchanged from the draft. Therefore, the Delegated Act specifies that payment entitlements should be allocated to the person enjoying decision-making power, benefits and financial risks in relation to the agricultural activity on the land for which such allocation is requested. This means that it will be in only exceptional circumstances that someone who is renting land out in conacre will be able to establish entitlements in 2015. The Delegated Act will be confirmed in two months time provided there is no objection from the European Parliament or the EU Council.”

The minister concluded: “These decisions and the adoption of the Delegated Act by the EU Commission will remove some of the uncertainty with regards to entitlements trading this year. However, I do have to point out that other CAP policy decisions remain outstanding and it is solely a business decision whether to trade entitlements this year.”

The Q&A on how changes under CAP Reform will impact on land let in conacre, has been updated taking these decisions onboard. This Q&A can we found online here.