Incoming Macra National President, John Keane presenting Macra na Feirme’s position on CAP Green Architecture to Jackie Cahil, Fianna Fáil TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.
Speaking at the launch last week of the ‘Lean and Green; Macra na Feirme’s vision on the Green Architecture of CAP post-2023’ document, Macra National President Thomas Duffy stated the importance of a clear vision for the environmental elements of the next CAP.
“This is something we must be proactive about, young farmers will be affected by this reform for years to come,” said Macra President Duffy, “but young farmers also need to be put at the fore of all future environmental measures. The greater value for money is with practice change at the start of farming careers,” he added.
The document lays out Macra na Feirme’s position on elements such as much debated eco-schemes with a focus on their design and includes examples such as hedgerow habitat protection measures and carbon-reducing measures such as milk recording which identify suitable animals for breeding.
“Farmers are rightfully worried about the impact of the next CAP on their income. Regardless of where the final contribution to eco-schemes ends up between 20% and 30%, the key will be that they are practical and achievable measures without additional costs or loss of land, so these are accessible to all farmers,” said Macra President Duffy.
The issue of low uptake of environmental schemes by both young farmers and more highly stocked farms must be addressed.
Macra na Feirme has proposed greater payment limits for young farmers and partnerships including young farmers, along with schemes more suitable to co-exist with highly productive agriculture.
“We looked at the common features on all farms, it was clear from our consultations that young farmers want to protect hedgerows and watercourses so our recommended designs would focus on these,” said Agricultural Affairs Chair Shane Fitzgerald.
“These features don’t impact on productive farms and deliver a lot for climate, water quality and species,” he added.
Renewing Macra na Feirme’s position in relation to multi-annual schemes, results-based methodology should be the focus of future environmental scheme design.
Macra na Feirme has called for the level of support available under these schemes to be significantly increased.
To address the disconnect between schemes and regulations Macra na Feirme has called for greater integration between eco-schemes and multi-annual schemes.
“We have been clear that the future for environmental schemes must be results-based, numerous projects show that this approach works for farmers but now it needs to be scaled up. The issue is these schemes need proper funding, we haven’t seen that in REAP. We need real ambition here and proper payment ceilings,” finished President Duffy.
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