At a meeting in Brussels with EU Commission Rural Development officials this week, IFA got assurances that amendments to Ireland’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Plan can be implemented. It is now up to Minister Coveney to implement all amendments without delay.
IFA Rural Development Chairman, Flor McCarthy said that changes involve the introduction of TAMS measures for grain farmers and the reintroduction of the Sheep Fencing scheme. The availability of these schemes now, in advance of the formal approval by the Commission, is particularly relevant as the next tranche of the TAMS scheme commences on 28th March for all schemes. If it is not introduced now farmers will be left waiting until the following tranche, which will be three months later meaning little or no investment by farmers or money will be paid out this year.
Flor McCarthy said the overall amendments to the RDP also involved the Burren scheme being included in the RDP and extended to a wider area, two payments under the Knowledge Transfer programme for farmers with more than one enterprise and some technical changes to GLAS.
IFA has told the EU Commission of the need for more flexibility within the RDP to ensure full utilisation of the €4bn available up to 2020. The new Government when it is in place must face up to the income crisis in agriculture and provide real support to farmers through vital schemes such as ANCs, GLAS and farm investment measures.