The views of farmers on future environmental programmes are being sought as part of research being brought to the European Commission.

University College Cork (UCC) is the Irish representative in an EU research project, Console. The project is aiming to provide information to the commission to improve the design of agri-environmental programmes.

It is intended to collect the views of over 1,000 farmers, policymakers and other stakeholders across Europe about the suitability and acceptability of a range of agri-environmental programmes.

Broadmore Research and Acorn Agricultural Research are undertaking the data collection on behalf of UCC.

Important that Irish farmers are represented

UCC said it would “greatly appreciate” if farmers could take time to complete the online survey.

“It is very important that the views of Irish farmers are represented in this research and reported to [the] EU Commission to help design environmental programmes that will be effective for Ireland,” a notice about the survey says.

The Common Agricultural Policy [CAP] is placing a growing emphasis on environmental issues and more of the funding coming to Irish farmers through the CAP budget will be directed towards environmental programmes.

“This is evident from the publication of the recent Green Deal and Farm to Fork strategies.”

The data collected and processed in UCC will adhere to EU legislation (GDPR), the Irish Data Protection Act 2018 and the UCC Code of Research Conduct.

The survey can be accessed here.

New agri-environment pilot scheme

At national level, the incoming pilot agri-environment scheme will have an estimated average payment of “in or around” €4,700 – and will be based on 10ha with the idea of being accessible to farmers operating both large and small holdings, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has said.

“In advance of now and the new CAP kicking off in January 2023, part of this year’s estimate [is] delivering a pilot agri-environment scheme, which we are currently engaged with the European Commission in getting approval for,” the minister said.

The objective of that scheme would be that it would be paid and measured on 10ha of land.

“My objective in relation to that is to try and ensure that all types of farmers, whether large or small, have a full opportunity to engage in this scheme and to benefit to the fullest extent in payments.”