INHFA hits out at biased Department modelling on CAP

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have condemned a recent document released by the Department of Agriculture Food & the Marine (DAFM) on modelling future CAP payments. The document which is available on the Departments Website implies that no farmer will gain under the convergence model. This stated INHFA President Colm O’Donnell “totally misrepresents the reality that over 72,000 farmers representing almost 60% of all farmers stands to gain under 100% convergence or full flattening. Of these, over half would also gain substantially under the 85% convergence model which the DAFM have based this document around.”

The DAFM modelling outlines details on how 85% convergence will impact on farmers Pillar 1 payments with modelling done on three farmers with varying payments to illustrate this. In the example used, all three farmers have 32ha but there are variations in their Pillar 1 payment rates which sees Farmer X on €160/ha (made up of the BPS and Greening). Farmer Y is on €300/ha with farmer Z on €400/ha again made up from their BPS and Greening. Through the lifetime of the new CAP (2023-26) the DAFM modelling shows how the payment rate per hectare falls for farmer Z from €400/ha to €233 by 2026, with farmer Y seeing payments fall from €300/ha to €200/ha and for farmer X there is a modest increase from €160 up to €161/ha

In discussing this, O’Donnell stated “how the DAFM modelling is totally misleading as it excludes the Eco payment in the final figures despite including the Greening payment in the initial figures. The document also fails to differentiate between changes in farmers’ payments due the way Eco-schemes will be paid and changes in payments caused by additional convergence. This has the effect of making the effects of increasing convergence look even worse for farmers on high historic payments. “This Eco payment which replaces Greening will he added “be available to all farmers and can deliver a payment of between €54 and €80/ha. Final clarity will be got on this when the EU decides what percentage of Pillar 1 payments will be allocated to the Eco-scheme with current proposals suggesting between 20 to 30%.”

O’Donnell then outlined what he maintained would be a more accurate assessment of the final figures under 85% convergence and an Eco-scheme payment at 25%. This he stated would see Farmer X increase to a total payment of €228/ha with farmer Y on a payment of €267 and farmer Z on a payment of €300/ha. ”There is, he continued “an opportunity to protect farmers on small holdings who have higher payments through the front-loaded option referred to as the Complementary Redistributive Income Support Scheme(CRISS). Unfortunately, this option was not included in the DAFM modelling and must be included in any future modelling.”

In assessing the document, the INHFA President stated how “the DAFM must at all times be objective and remain independent. At this point it is difficult to say whether this was a blunder or something more deliberate in order to influence this debate. In concluding he stated “how clarity is now essential, not just in relation to its many mistakes but also with regard to its intention.”