Losses of calf producers ‘worrying’

The detailed rules for the new EU single farm payment have certainly resolved many issues in the interests of farmers, ICMSA president Pat O’Rourke said yesterday.

But he pointed out that many areas of concern remain, particularly the losses of calf and weanling producers and the implementation of cross-compliance rules.

These two issues will have to be addressed to the satisfaction of Irish farmers, he said.

Mr O’Rourke welcomed the EU Commission decision to allow farmers to consolidate their single payment entitlement onto their area farmed in 2005 in certain circumstances.

“This decision is extremely important to farmers who were renting or leasing land in the past and who may not have had that land available to them in 2005 or subsequent years. “Up to this point, these farmers would have lost part of their single payment entitlement if their land area had fallen below their 2000-2002 base land area.

“Alternatively, they would have been forced to pay uneconomic prices to rent land in order to draw down their full entitlements. Indeed, the rental market this year appears to have overheated because of this very issue,” he said.

IFA farm forestry chairman John Jackson welcomed the confirmation by Farm Minister Joe Walsh that farmers can plant up to 50% of the average forage area which they held during the reference period, retain their single farm payment entitlements and still avail of the tax free forestry premium, which is payable to farmers for 20 years.

Mr Jackson congratulated Mr Walsh on the new arrangements.

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