IFA environment and rural affairs chair, Paul O’Brien, said that supports will be vital to enable farmers to comply with the series of new measures set out in Ireland’s fifth Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) 2022-2025.
“The new nitrates programme will have significant implications for farmers across all sectors.
“Some of the new measures have financial implications and it is going to be important that farmers are supported, either through grant aid or Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) schemes to meet the greater environmental standards, which will benefit the entire country,” he said.
It’s important that the Department is cognisant of the challenges facing farmers
O’Brien said this year is shaping up to be an incredibly challenging one for farming across all sectors.
“The renewed focus on food security has to underpin all policy decisions in farming,” he said.
“It’s important that the Department is cognisant of the challenges facing farmers and takes this into account during the transition to the new NAP.”
He said it was very disappointing that the Department had introduced the measure to reduce total N to 2.4kg/N (from 5kg/N) without consultation.
This will have massive implications for farmers who export slurry.
He said the IFA had asked the Department to introduce changes collectively following the review of the technical tables to minimise disruption and allow farmers time to prepare.
All farmers applying for environment scheme must be paid in 2023
Speaking after a meeting with the Department of Agriculture last week, IFA rural development chair Michael Biggins said all farmers who apply for the new Agri-Environment Climate Measure (AECM) in 2023 must be paid in the same year.
The new AECM proposes to have up to 50,000 farmers participating and it is planned to open the scheme over at least two tranches. Tranche 1 is scheduled to open in quarter four 2022, with scheme participation commencing in January 2023. Tranche 2 is to open for applications in quarter four 2023, with scheme participation commencing in January 2024.
Biggins said: “There is a real income concern if there is a lag between GLAS and AECM, which will be caused by the tranche approach.
I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to commit to every farmer getting an environment scheme payment for 2023
“Not accepting all participants into the scheme in 2023 is simply unacceptable. GLAS/AECM payments are a critically important part of farmers’ incomes. It is essential that all applicants under all tranches receive a payment in 2023 and the scheme cannot be limited to 50,000 participants.”
“I am calling on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to commit to every farmer getting an environment scheme payment for 2023.
“This can be done by either paying an upfront payment in 2023 for Tranche 2 participants, similar to the way REPS payments were in the past. If that is not feasible, the 12,000 GLAS 3 participants must be rolled over for 2023.”