Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) farmers are satisfied with the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).
Satisfaction has increased from 62% last year.
However, 20% remain dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the scheme.
That’s down from last year’s 23%, but is still a very high figure, considering that the BPS makes the difference between profit and loss on most Irish farms.
Which farmers are happy or unhappy with the BPS?
Farm size seems to be a deciding factor.
Of the 526 farmers interviewed face-to-face for the Irish Examiner ICMSA opinion poll, only 54% of the smallest scale farmers, with less than 40 acres, are satisfied with the BPS.
As farm scale increases, 68-69% of those in the 40 to 120 acres range are satisfied, and 74% over 120 acres (matched only by the 73-74% of farmers in the 35-54 age bracket).
Nevertheless, overall satisfaction is moving in the right direction, which indicates that farmers see the scheme as an improvement on the Single Farm Payment scheme, which the BPS replaced in 2015.
Only 11% are “don’t knows”; so farmers seem to be coming to terms with the new scheme fairly quickly.
The 69% satisfaction could be interpreted as a vote for convergence, the process by which farmers paid less than €184 per hectare will see a gradual increase in their payment, up to 2019.
This will be financed by cutting payments above €184, and no farmer shall receive a payment greater than €700 per hectare by 2019, or less than €110.60.
However, only 44% are happy with the Greening scheme which runs alongside the new BPS, and 18% are unhappy with it. That leaves a large percentage (32%) of “don’t knows”.
Smaller farmers and tillage farmers are more dissatisfied with Greening, which obliges tillage farmers to diversifify their cropping and maintain Ecological Focus Areas.
Find more on the Irish Examiner ICMSA farming survey HERE
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