IRISH Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association president Gabriel Gilmartin, speaking on the outcome of the CAP talks in Brussels this week said, “All options, including gradual convergence and front loading are still on the table. This means that there is still potential to minimise cuts to farmers with above average payments while leaving the door open for increased payments to active farmers who are currently below the average.”
Mr Gilmartin said: “It is positive that options are still open for minimising the impact on active producers, particularly in the small to medium cattle and sheep sector.
“The fact that there was no minimum per hectare payment set as a result of the talks means that Minister Coveney’s approximation approach is still in the game but the final outcome will be decided by trilogue talks involving the Commission, Parliament and Council.”
Mr Gilmartin noted that the ministers’ position offered an option of a maximum 7 per cent coupled payment.
“This means that coupled payments from Pillar 1 look increasingly unrealistic.
“On the question of the reference year for the new round of CAP, member states have the option of choosing from 2012, 2013 or 2014. This potentially means that farmers will be limited to getting payments on hectares declared in their 2012 SFP application. Hopefully this will force farmers to think carefully before paying outlandish prices for rented land,” Mr Gilmartin added.
“The Minister has done a good job in getting agreement while keeping options open, but more difficult talks lie ahead,” he concluded