Coveney Submits Draft of €4 Billion Rural Development
Programme to EU Commission
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced the final detail of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP), 2014-2020, which will now be submitted to the European Commission for approval. The draft RDP outlines the range of supports and schemes in the coming years.
IOA Summary for Organic Farmers
Per hectare payments rates for 2015 to 2020 have been released and are as follows:
Grass Land Farmers – €220/ha in conversion and €170/ha maintenance. With an additional €30/ha for red clover.
Horticulture – €300/ha in conversion and €200/ha maintenance. [The higher rate for will apply for the first 6 ha only after which the standard rate applies]
Tillage – €260/ha in conversion and €170 maintenance.
Details, such as, the cut off rate which is currently 55 hectares and the lower rate for horticulture is yet to be released.
Minister Coveney outlined the main provisions of the RDP schemes as follows:
GLAS (total allocation of €1,450m over the lifetime of the RDP)
- The new Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) will provide for a maximum payment of €5,000 for up to 50,000 farmers. The targeted structure of the Scheme has been refined following the recent public consultation. In particular, the requirement for 80% of active farmers to participate in collective action on commonage has been replaced by a 50% rate applying to either 50% of active farmers or 50% of the total commonage land area. An independently chaired implementation group will be established to address issues that arise on the ground.
- In addition to the basic GLAS, farmers who take on particularly challenging environmental actions may qualify for a top up payment of up to €2,000 per annum under GLAS+. For example, farmers who reach the full €5,000 maximum under GLAS on the back on mandatory Tier 1 actions will get priority access to GLAS+. [IOA comment – the issue of what constitutes double funding is yet to be finalised but organic farmers have got priority access to GLAS]
- Some of the main payment rates under GLAS include
i. An annual rate of €120 per hectare will apply for the actions applicable on commonages. This is a substantial increase on the €75 rate available under AEOS.
ii. The low input permanent pasture action will attract a payment of €314 and traditional hay meadow actions will attract a payment of €315 per hectare each year. [IOFGA comment – Availability to organic farmers is yet to be clarified as it was previously considered as double funding]
iii. New measures to help the conservation of important wild bird species will attract rates of between €205 to €375 per hectare per year.
The full set of GLAS rates are set out at Annex 2 on DAFM webpage.
- GLAS will also include a Traditional Farm Buildings Measure. Support will be available for an amount not exceeding 75% of total costs up to a maximum grant of €25,000
Areas of Natural Constraint inc. Island Farmers (€1,370m)
- The current levels and structure of payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme (formerly known as the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme) will continue, pending the reassessment of the areas covered by the Scheme on the basis of new biophysical criteria which must be in place by 2018.
- A new top up payment for a separate category of Island Farmers has now been incorporated in the structure of the ANC Scheme. This top up will compensate for the particular challenges faced by Island Farmers. Where a farmer is resident on an island an additional €150 per forage hectare will be payable, subject to the maximum of €250 per hectare up to 34 hectares. Where the farmer is not resident on the island the top up rate is €75 per forage hectare.
On Farm Capital Investment (€395m)
- In relation to On Farm Capital Investment, the allocation for the new Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) II has been increased significantly to €395m. It is intended that the initial strands of TAMSII to be launched will include Young Farmer Capital Investment, Beef and Sheep Handling and Weighing Equipment, Dairy Equipment, Low Emission Slurry Spreading and Organic Capital Investment. TAMSII will subsequently be expanded to cover farm nutrient storage and animal housing.
Locally Led Agri-Environment Schemes (€70m)
- The allocation for locally led targeted Agri-Environment Schemes has also been significantly increased to €70m over the lifetime of the RDP. This allocation will fund two flagship schemes – namely an expansion of the Burren Farming for Conservation Scheme and new projects in Freshwater Pearl Mussel Catchment areas. A number of further local targeted projects will also be identified for funding.
Organic Farming (€44m)
- Following on from the recent consultation process, a significantly increased budget of €44m is being allocated to the Organic Farming Scheme in order to support growth in the sector more effectively. In addition, a dedicated Capital Investment Scheme for the organic sector has been included in TAMS II.
- All rates of payment are being increased: the standard rate of payment is €220/ha for conversion with a maintenance rate of €170/ha, with higher rates of €300 (conversion) and €200 (maintenance) applying for Horticulture operations, and €260 (conversion) and €170 (maintenance) for Tillage operations. In addition, a top-up of €30/ha for red-clover is included. The higher horticultural rates will apply to the first six hectares only; thereafter the standard rate applies. For tillage farmers, the higher rate ceiling is 20 ha.
Support for collaborative farming (€3m)
- Support for approved collaborative approaches to farming has also increased following the consultation process. This support will assist with set up costs up to a maximum of €2,500 for farmers entering into approved collaborative models, and will aim to support 1,200 new collaborative ventures.
Beef Data and Genomics Programme (€295m)
IOA Comment – ALSO AVAILABLE TO ORGANIC FARMERS
- The new Beef Data and Genomics Programme will build on the strong link between the sustainability of Irish beef production and maximising the contribution of Irish agriculture to national climate change initiatives. This highly innovative programme will provide support to farmers to take samples for genotyping from selected animals in their herds and to provide vital breeding data to support the development of a national cattle breeding databank. This data will provide farmers with the tools to select higher quality and more efficient breeding replacements through the use of cutting edge genomic technology. The range of actions to be undertaken provide the basis for a payment of €80 applicable to each set of actions carried out per animal.
Knowledge Transfer Measures (€112m)
- A suite of knowledge transfer measures will underpin the success of the new RDP, and will consist of support for Knowledge Transfer Groups across a number of sectors (including beef, sheep, dairy, equine, poultry and tillage), support for European
Innovation Partnership Operational Groups, Continuous Professional Development for advisors, and targeted on farm advice in relation to key animal health and welfare issues.
Following consideration of the draft RDP by the European Commission, a period of detailed discussions on the content of the Programme will commence. The adoption of an agreed RDP will be a matter of priority for the Department in the coming months.