The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) will be stricter on the circumvention of rules under new fam schemes under the country’s new CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), which came into effect on January 1st, 2023.
That is according to Donal McCabe, Business & Technology Advisor – Drystock – at Teagasc’s Longford-based advisory centre – who revealed, during one of the state agency’s recent webinars, that the DAFM will undertake more monitoring to ensure compliance with farm schemes under the new policy.
Speaking as part of Teagasc Roscommon-Longford’s webinar on an overview of new CAP schemes 2023, McCabe commented:
“Circumvention is an important point that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has covered with us and our role, as advisors, is to make sure that our clients are fully briefed in this as well.”
He told viewers of the virtual information meeting that the DAFM considers circumvention to be artificially creating the conditions to obtain benefits or ‘getting around the rules’.
McCabe explained: “The new CAP will be considered stricter on this point, and while it was in the last couple of years, the DAFM are keen to clamp down on this ever more than what they are at the moment.”
One example of circumvention would be splitting herds purely to avoid capping, and another would be selling entitlements to clear land for the purposes of applying to the National Reserve.
Capitalising on the latter point, he outlined: “If you are applying to the National Reserve and are acquiring land if there are entitlements to be got with that land, if the farmer, for example, is retiring, and there are entitlements, you should not be choosing not to take those entitlements because you foresee that you will benefit from the National Reserve.”
“The DAFM refer to that as circumvention. If a farmer has entitlements, you would be expected to take the entitlements that are associated with that land.”
“The DAFM do not want a situation where a retiring farmer, for example, transfers over land via lease to a farmer.”
“Then they sell their entitlements, or rent them out, pocket money as a result of that, and then the young farmer comes in, applies to the National Reserve and gets entitlements that way too.”
“The DAFM would class that as double funding that they are basically paying for two sets of entitlements on the one area of ground, which is circumvention.”
Financial or managerial control of holding
McCabe also provided applications to the Young Farmers’ Scheme, which is now known as Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers, where the young farmer is not in financial or managerial control, as another example of circumvention.
He explained: “There are, unfortunately, farmers who lose out on the Young Farmers’ Scheme every year because of this.”
“In some cases, the young farmer that is on the herd number that is drawing down the YF support may not be really aware of what is going on, on the farm.”
“In some cases, unfortunately, the YF may not be in the country for significant periods of time. Obviously, the DAFM will class this as circumvention, and there will be penalties as a result.”
“Overall, there will be significant penalty risks for the farmer and possibly the advisor as well. If the advisor is found to be facilitating that, they could be in trouble too, so just be aware of this,” he concluded.
In a previous article, That’s Farming explored how you can demonstrate that you, as a qualified young farmer, can demonstrate managerial and financial control of your farm – you can read this news article via this link.