30,000 sign a petition for a ‘fairer’ CAP

A 30,000-signature petition is part of a campaign by the Farm Family Rights Group (FFRG) for a better CAP out-come, including a €20,000, ‘per active farmer’ minimum annual target, made up of GLAS, plus basic and greening farm payments.

FFRG chair man, Donie Shine, said setting the 2015 greening payment at 30% of this year’s single farm payment was the “biggest injustice” proposed by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney — grossly unfair to the vast majority of family farms, which have a low single farm payment per hectare.

It demands that they carry out the same environmental measures as a farmer getting 30% of a large SFP. A high proportion of the money for greening should be used to support vulnerable farmers, proposes the FFRG, which demands the greening be “flat-tened” to €83 for every hectare in the country, or be redistributed to each farmer’s first 32 hectares (but all hectares to be subject to greening rules).

Some of the FFRG demands are similar to those in Fianna F•il’s CAP Policy Paper, and Mr Shine said he will be putting forward his demands at some of the 20 CAP reform meetings being organised by Fianna F•il around the country — including in Bantry, Co Cork, on March 7.

Mr Shine said he plans to bring ‘people power’ behind his group’s demands with a petition to the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, and by making CAP reform an issue in the European Parliament and local elections on May 23.

For an average- sized farmer, at 32 hectares, he demands a GLAS payment of €10,000, plus the basic farm payment, in addition to a flattened greening payment of at least €2,600.

He said the proposed GLAS scheme payment of €5,000, for 50,000 farmers, will be eaten up by an annual planner’s fee and the environmental compliance costs.

The REPS maximum was €11,800, and FFRG proposes GLAS pay, up to €10,000 at 32 hectares, by confining it to family farms and reducing the total number of farmers involved to under 35,000.

“ The funds for GLAS should not be allowed to be gobbled up by commercial, intensive farmers, which put an abrupt end to REPs,” said Mr Shine.

His group represents small-to medium-sized farms, many of whom missed out on high, single farm payment entitlements.

FFRG wants its demands in place in 2015 — not phased-in between 2015 and 2019.

Mr Shine warned that a CAP reform that doesn’t look after vulnerable family farms will face change in the 2017 mid-term review, which is built into the reform.

FFRG also demands increased compensation for farmers in Special Protection Areas, and suggests that single farm payments be “stacked” on the eligible acres of farmers who are being penalised for claiming payments on alleged ineligible areas.

¦ Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has revealed that August 1 is the earliest notification date by which the Irish authorities must notify the European Commission of national arrangements under Pillar I of the reformed CAP.

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