Changes that ensure farmers are no longer required to retain 10% of their eligible hectares in an agricultural activity for the purposes of retaining eligibility for the basic payment scheme have been welcomed by the Irish Farmers Association.
Farm Forestry chairman Vincent Nally this positive development will allow farmers to plant all their land or to lease the land they have not planted and still retain their BPS payment.
Farmers who planted part of their holding from 2009 onwards were required to retain at least 10% of the eligible hectares declared in 2008 in an agricultural activity.
This was subject to a minimum area of three hectares, in order to continue to be regarded as an active farmer for the purpose of retaining eligibility for the basic payment scheme.
Mr Nally said the changes recognise that forestry is a crop like any other crop or enterprise on the farm, and removes restrictions under the direct payment system so farmers can optimise income from their land.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is reminding farmers that the 2020 nitrates derogation applications can now be submitted online. The closing date is April 8.