Suckler conundrum poll: How would a payment be funded?
As debate over the potential introduction of a €200 / suckler cow subsidy rumbles on, AgriLand asks how would such a suggested payment be funded?
Despite demands for the delivery of increased supports by opposition TDs, rural-based politicians and farm organisations, they have presented no clear indication of how such a scheme would be financed.
Based on the number of suckler cows in the most recent Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) statistics – recorded by the Department of Agriculture – any introduction of a coupled suckler cow payment under Pillar I of CAP would necessitate a linear reduction in all farmers’ existing basic payments of approximately €175 million to fund such a scheme.
In addition to ensuring that the national suckler herd is supported with strong direct payments, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed this week said he is “anxious to ensure that the productivity and efficiency of the suckler herd continues to improve”.
Speaking in the Dail, during a Fianna Fail tabled motion on potential suckler sector supports, Minister Creed stated the three barriers to establishing such a payment.
“A fully exchequer-funded support scheme would require approval by the European Commission under state aid regulations and would need to comply with our obligations under the World Trade Organisation rules.
“Second; while there have been calls for the use of savings within the existing Rural Development Programme (RDP) to be used for additional supports, I wish to restate and make absolutely clear that there are no surplus funds available within the RDP above and beyond the funding already allocated, which has been committed to existing schemes within the RDP.
“Finally; any allocation of funding under Pillar I of the CAP would in principle have required a linear reduction of an estimated 18% to all existing farmers’ Basic Payment Scheme payments for redistribution. In fact, the deadline for any such change to the Pillar I scheme in the current round has already passed,” he said.
In line with such funding constraints, AgriLand asks: