New EU rules for commonage farmers

Commonage far mers will have to satisfy new ‘minimum activity’ rules in order to draw down moneys in the new EU direct payments regime which will come into effect in 2015.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has confirmed that commonage land will continue to be eligible for payment:

“However, there is a requirement that the farmer must be ‘active’ which, in the case of marginal type land such as mountain common-age, involves carrying out a ‘minimum activity’ which is to be defined by each member state. The European Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts setting out the framework within which member states shall define the minimum activity. Discussions on delegated acts are continuing, and I am not in a position to comment further on the nature of such ‘minimum activity’ until these acts are finalised.

“It should also be noted that member states have the option of excluding land where ‘grasses and other herbaceous forage’ is not predominant. If such land is considered eligible, member states have the option to apply a reduction co-efficient to such land, whereby the declared number of hectares would convert into a reduced number of eligible hectares. I intend to finalise Ireland’s position on these and other direct payment issues before the end of the year.” Over 12,000 Irish farmers receive a single farm payment in respect of commonages


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