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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Farmers will be in for a big shock when they see the cut in their Basic Payment’

The IFA has warned that Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan will hit a cohort of the country’s most productive farmers who will see a “devastating cut” in the BPS.

The farm group’s leader, Tim Cullinan, said that many beef, sheep and tillage farmers, who do not have off-farm income, will “find it very difficult to achieve viability”.

Earlier today (Tuesday, December 21st), cabinet approved Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan (CSP).

This will enable the DAFM to submit its draft plan to the European Commission ahead of the January 1st, 2022 deadline.

Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan

Cullinan believes the proposed CSP does not strike the “right balance” between environmental, economic and social sustainability.

He said the CAP results in money being redistributed amongst farmers through:

  • Convergence;
  • Complimentary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS);
  • Eco-schemes.
Payment cuts 

He warned that “it is very complex” and stressed that “many farmers will be in for a big shock when they see the cut in their Basic Payment in 2023”.

Cullinan said McConalogue could have put more funding into programmes to support beef, sheep and tillage farmers. However, he “decided not to”.

Cullinan said these sectors will need further national supports if “they are to survive as we know them”.

“The minister also decided to take 25% from each farmer’s Basic Payment to put towards new eco-schemes.”

“While we would acknowledge his efforts to make these schemes more accessible, they will cost farmers money to participate in and are untested,” he added.

“The minister himself negotiated flexibility at EU level to reduce this percentage below 25% for countries with a higher environmental spend under Pillar II of the programme.”

“Ireland easily qualifies for this. However, the minister chose not to reduce the percentage, despite the fact that many other countries will do so.”

The IFA stated it would have preferred if the DAFM left more of this funding within the Basic Payment where farmers still have to comply with good agricultural and environmental practices.

Overall, he said the plan would put more costs on farmers when “huge” cost increases for energy, feed and fertiliser are already hitting them.

The farm group claimed that the latest CAP shifts the emphasis from supporting food production.

“This is very short-term thinking. The global population is due to increase from 7.5bn to an estimated 10bn by 2050,” he concluded.

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