One of the measures revealed last week as part of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue’s announcement of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plan funding allocations was the confirmation of ‘frontloading’ of farm payments.

Many farmers are unsure about what frontloading actually means and if it will impact them positively or negatively.

Frontloading of farm payments will occur under Pillar I of the new CAP under the category titled, Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS).

So, to put it plainly, if a farmer’s entire Pillar I payment is above €430/ha, they are likely to lose out from the CRISS, or frontloading.

Under the new CAP proposals, every CAP recipient will be docked 10% of their total Pillar I payment, and it will be reallocated to every CAP recipient at an estimated rate of approximately €43/ha on their first 30ha.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is referring to this move as “a mandatory redistributive element based on farm size”.

Frontloading will be introduced in Ireland for the first time in 2023.

Frontloading in CAP

The CRISS measure, or frontloading, will redistribute 10% of the direct payments ceiling – based on farm size.

The money – totaling approximately €118 million/year – will mean farmers receive €43/ha on their first 30ha under the proposals.

The land area of 30ha was chosen by the department as it is “the optimum range of hectares to benefit the majority of farmers”.

Under the proposals, it is estimated that up to 75% of farmers are set to benefit from the CRISS measure.

So, a farmer with a payment of €400/ha on 30ha in Pillar I will neither gain nor lose from the scheme.

A farmer with over 30ha will not benefit from frontloading unless they have a low entitlement value.

E.g., a farmer with an entitlement value of €160/ha will likely benefit from the scheme as they will have 10% of their payment docked – so €16/ha – but will be returned €43/ha on their first 30ha.

This CRISS will be applicable to all farmers – large and small – but will affect each farmer differently as it is based on farm size as well as entitlement value.

Ultimately, any farmer with a high entitlement value will take a hit – regardless of the amount of land they have – whereas a farmer working with 30ha or less and a low entitlement value will benefit.

Essentially, frontloading is another form of convergence.

Stay tuned to Agriland for further updates on the CAP reform proposals.