More clarity for farmers as Minister announces CAP technical decisions

Wednesday, 9 April, 2014

Ulster Farmers’ Union President Harry Sinclair has said that the NI Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill’s announcement of a number of technical decisions in relation to the implementation of Pillar 1 direct payments under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) has provided a bit more clarity for farmers who are trying to plan for the future of their businesses.

UFU President Harry Sinclair continued; “The Minister’s announcement is welcome news, especially as many of the technical decisions are largely reflective of the UFU’s position. However, we are disappointed that the Minister has decided not to make use of all the greening options available such as allowing groups of farmers to use collective arrangements for up to 50% of their EFA obligation. The announcement of these technical decisions is at least some progress towards knowing what the final implementation of the CAP will look like. 

“Time is marching on and there are still major decisions in relation to CAP implementation that have to be made.  Many farmers are finding themselves in a nearly impossible situation as they try to plan their business in the face of so much uncertainty. Regionalisation and transition remain significant issues and the Union has been clear that it believes that opting for a two region model with SDA cattle support; a 10 year transition; and a separate NI wide suckler cow support scheme is in the best interest of the agriculture industry as a whole. But now is the time for the Minister to show leadership and to ensure that decisions are made based on the future of the industry and not the past. The EU Commission’s 1st August deadline will be here before we know it and the absolute worst situation for the majority of Northern Ireland’s farmers is to go to the EU default position of a single region with an immediate transition. This would spell disaster for many farm businesses and any hope for growing and expanding Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry will be lost.”