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FF claim to ensure the next CAP accommodates 3,500 ‘Forgotten Farmers’

Fianna Fáil has stated that it will “defend and uphold” CAP payments in these “deeply uncertain times”.

The political party has outlined its election promises in its 2020 manifesto.

Defend CAP funding & ensure sustainable farm incomes

  • Work with European colleagues to ensure a “fully funded, fair, and simpler” CAP that safeguards direct payments.
  • Negotiate for a “fair income” for farmers in the new CAP post-2020;
  • Secure national ceilings at EU level on individual CAP payments and “restrict” them to €60,000 in Ireland to safeguard the family model of farming;
  • Introduce a complementary redistributive income support for smaller and medium-sized farms in the next CAP;
  • Ensure the next CAP accommodates Ireland’s 3,500 “Forgotten Farmers” (defined as farmers under 40 years, who commenced prior to 2008);
  • Establish an independent agriculture appeals review panel in legislation that will have farmer representation.

Establish a National Food Ombudsman

  • Establish a new state independent authority, called the National Food Ombudsman (NFO), to protect primary producers in national law and ensure fairness and equity in the food supply chain – will cost €2.3m.
  • Designate the new NFO as the independent public authority in Ireland to enforce new EU wide rules (EU Directive (2019/633)) on prohibited unfair trading practices in the food supply chain.

Suckler cow support

  • “Reform and simplify” the existing scheme and ensure a €200 per head payment on the first 20 cows. The manifesto states that the approximate cost of this measure will be €46m in additional funding;
  • Ensure that the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme remains a permanent suckler support scheme;
  • Support the work of the Beef Market Taskforce and associated actions regarding beef specifications;
  • Work to ensure that processors and supermarkets pay “proper prices” for quality Irish beef as part of the “broader efforts” to increase price transparency and strengthen profitable farming;
  • Fully support the establishment of Producer Organisations (POs) for primary producers in the beef sector;
  • Seek protected geographical indication (PGI) status for Irish suckler grass-fed beef;
  • Continue to develop and support live exports;
  • Support the sheep welfare scheme;
  • Increase resources to the market access unit.

Market access unit

  • Increase resources and staff to the specialised market access unit in the DAFM to at least 20 staff;
  • Support the dairy sector to continue adding value in line with national food strategies.

ANC and biodiversity payments

  • Allocate an additional €50m above 2020 levels to bring the ANC scheme funding to €300m per annum;
  • Enhance biodiversity management of lands by fully restoring the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Farm Plan Scheme with an additional €4m in funding;
  • Ensure the NPWS completes a Threat Response Plan for the conservation of Hen Harriers on designated land. Expand Farm Assist State supports are vital to making family farms financially viable.

Farm assist

  • Expand Farm Assist means-testing rules to disregard the first €3,000 of income and means test the remainder at 50% at a cost of €18m annually.

Climate change

  • Review the Climate Action Fund and work with Teagasc to identify further abatement measures;
  • Ensure the Climate Action Fund is targeted to help prepare the sector for Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy;
  • Work with Teagasc to identify further measures regarding carbon abatement potential over the decade ahead for the sector;
  • Reduce ammonia emissions by introducing 100% capital allowances for the uptake of 1,500 units of Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment annually by farmers over a four period – measure will cost €3.4m.

Launch a new strategy on sustainable waste processing

  • “Anaerobic digesters offer a process to transform farm waste into valuable bio-gas. Working with stakeholders, we can develop and advance this model across the country.” 
  • Draw up a national strategy for Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and the agricultural sector to “exploit the full potential” of bio-gas production and bio-economy in rural Ireland as a key economic stimulant of future jobs in rural areas.

Animal welfare

  • Double animal welfare funding by €3m for bodies and charities annually provided by the DAFM.

Tillage, organic & horticulture farmers

  • Establish a new National Food Ombudsman, to “protect” primary producers in national law and ensure “fairness and equity” in the food supply chain for tillage & horticulture farmers
  • Set ambitious targets to bring new land into organic production in the successor strategy to FoodWise 2025;
  • Work to secure increased funding for organic farming schemes in the next RDP;
  • Work for a new Knowledge Transfer Scheme in the next CAP.

Forestry

“It is paramount that we incentivise the planting of native trees with a balanced regional afforestation policy.” the manifesto states. 

  • Update the legislative mandate of Coillte Teoranta, so it will also have a “specific remit for supporting the delivery of climate change commitments and biodiversity protection”;
  • Request that the Climate Action Council carry out a thorough review of state forestry policy with respect to climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration and incorporate the findings into the next National Forestry Programme (2021-2027);
  • Work at EU level for recognition of the estimated 660,000 km of hedgerows throughout the Irish landscape as a carbon sink;
  • Restore the annual forest premium rates to pre-2009 levels for Grant and Premium Categories (GPC);
  • A priority will be put on broadleaves in order to incentivise the planting of native species. Cost €5.8m;
  • Ensure the next CAP prioritises and incentives the planting of trees on farms;
  • Work towards achieving the 30% national target for broadleaf planting, which is a condition of EU state aid approval for forestry;
  • Expand the NeighbourWood scheme for increased recreational tourism opportunities.
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