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New CAP: Farm schemes, payment rates and entitlements

In this article, That’s Farming looks at the main changes for Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027. 

The countdown has commenced to Ireland’s latest CAP strategic plan, which will kick into effect on January 1st, 2023.

The recently approved scheme offers a range of new schemes to farmers, as well as alterations to existing schemes.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) protects family farm incomes, supports and rural economy, ensures the production of high-quality, safe food for consumers and protects rural landscapes and the environment.

The purpose of CAP Strategic Plans

EU countries will implement the new CAP plan at their own national level.

EU countries were obligated to produce a thorough assessment of what must be done in their individual agri-food sectors.

Each CAP strategic plan includes an intervention strategy, explaining how each EU country will use CAP instruments to achieve the CAP objectives in keeping with the Green Deal ambitions.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, through public consultation and engagement with stakeholders, has developed Ireland’s CSP over the last two years.


An environmentally ambitious agri-environment climate measure called Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES), proposes to deliver significant long-term environmental improvement through participation measures by farmers.

As GLAS contracts come to a close, we envisage the opening of the latest REPS programme, known as ACRES.

The final terms of the conditions of the scheme have been released this week, including full payment rates and actions available to farmers.

There are two different contracts available, known as both general and co-operation, depending on the area your farm is based in.

Payment rates for ACRES range between €5,500 to €10,500, subject to contracts. This scheme is currently open for applications, and will commence on January 1st, 2022.


Entitlement transfers will continue to operate as normal as we enter into Ireland’s latest CAP strategic plan.

Undeniably, entitlement values will continue to fluctuate from 2023 to 2027, which may require further insight by those trading in entitlements.

However, it should be noted that the 20% clawback, which is set on selling of entitlements without land, will not be in place for 2023 or 2024 and will become active in 2025 to 2027.

Basic Income Support for Sustainability

The current system in place for processing the primary farmer payment, is the Basic Income Scheme. Under the new CAP strategic plan, this scheme will now be known as Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS).

As part of our transition into this scheme, farmers should expect to see a change in direct payment in 2023. Payments for 2022 remain unchanged.

Greening, calculated as 44% of your entitlement value, will be replaced with Eco Schemes. Payment rates for Eco Schemes will be paid based on hectares of eligible land.

Convergence, which will fuel the changes in direct payments, will be reflected through Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS). This payment will be made on a maximum of 30ha.

Meanwhile, financial incentives will still be available for Young Farmers. Payments to these farmers will be distributed through the Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers, replacing the Young Farmers’ Scheme. The maximum area to claim this payment is 50ha.

Applications for BISS will be submitted online, using an online system with a similar structure which is currently in place for BPS.

Ireland will implement a comprehensive system of capping direct payments, as allowed for under regulations.

Essentially, BISS payments will begin to be capped above €60,000, and the maximum BISS payment will be €66,000.

Space for Nature

Regulatory framework changes were direct to GAEC 8, known as non-productive areas.

The requirement for holdings to have 4% non-productive areas under GAEC 8 remains. However, commonage, Natura 2000, forestry, GAEC 2, and GAEC 9 lands will not be included in this calculation.

Furthermore, rock is now included as a non-productive beneficial feature.

Farmers will be required to provide ‘space for nature’ features on at least 4% of the holding area.

Features include:

  • Land lying fallow;
  • Hedgerows;
  • Buffer strips;
  • Stone walls;
  • Ponds;
  • Monuments;
  • Scrub and rock;
  • Drains and ditches.
Crop diversification

Under GAEC 7, there are some amendments that Ireland’s tillage farmers should familiarise themselves with.

This includes conditions that farmers with more than 50ha of tillage lands are obligated to rotate the crop grown on individual parcels once every four years.

However, farmers with between 10ha to 50ha will be exempt from the above rule. This exemption is made on the basis that these farmers practice crop diversification and adhere to the three-crop rule.

Farmers which have over 50% of their tillage areas sown with barley will also be considered to be exempt from the rotation requirement.

In addition to all of the above, farmers have the potential to sow more than 50% of their tillage area with catch crops per year.

All landed included should be sown with at least one catch crop in a four-year period.

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