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Coveney submits draft of €4 Billion Rural Development Programme to EU Commission

Coveney Submits Draft of €4 Billion Rural Development

Programme to EU Commission

 

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced the final detail of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP), 2014-2020, which will now be submitted to the European Commission for approval.  The draft RDP outlines the range of supports and schemes which will underpin sustainable growth in rural Ireland in the coming years.

Minister Coveney said: The new Rural Development Programme has been developed following an extensive process of stakeholder consultation over the last 18 months.  The submission of Ireland’s Programme to the European Commission marks a further important step building on the successful negotiation of a new Common Agricultural Policy under Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union.  In designing the range of supports and schemes in the new RDP, this Government has given a clear signal of its commitment to a strategic investment in Rural Ireland and the agri-food sector by providing National Exchequer funding to bring the total amount available for RDP schemes to €4billion in the period to 2020.”

Minister of State Tom Hayes commented: The new RDP will be a key support in facilitating sustainable growth in rural Ireland.  This will be built on targeting increased competitiveness, fostering innovation and best practice and ensuring sustainability of production.  The next stage in the process will involve detailed negotiations with the European Commission to ensure the adoption of a coherent and strategic Programme for the period to 2020.”

The draft RDP sets out the logic underlying proposed schemes and supports, and also outlines many of the administrative and monitoring and evaluation procedures that will be in place over the lifetime of the Programme.  In addition, full details in relation to the costings and payments applicable to schemes are set out.  The full draft RDP will be available on the Department’s website.

The Minister outlined the main provisions of the RDP schemes as follows:

 

GLAS (total allocation of €1,450m over the lifetime of the RDP)

  • The new Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) will provide for a maximum payment of €5,000 for up to 50,000 farmers.  The targeted structure of the Scheme has been refined following the recent public consultation.  In particular, the requirement for 80% of active farmers to participate in collective action on commonage has been replaced by a 50% rate applying to either 50% of active farmers or 50% of the total commonage land area.  An independently chaired implementation group will be established to address issues that arise on the ground.  It is expected that this Scheme will deliver substantial biodiversity, water quality, climate change, and other environmental benefits (see Annex 1 for the outline of the GLAS structure).
  • In addition to the basic GLAS, farmers who take on particularly challenging environmental actions may qualify for a top up payment of up to €2,000 per annum under GLAS+.  For example, farmers who reach the full €5,000 maximum under GLAS on the back on mandatory Tier 1 actions will get priority access to GLAS+.
  • Some of the main payment rates under GLAS include

                                 i.            An annual rate of €120 per hectare will apply for the actions applicable on commonages.  This is a substantial increase on the €75 rate available under AEOS.

                               ii.            The low input permanent pasture action will attract a payment of €314 and traditional hay meadow actions will attract a payment of €315 per hectare each year.

                             iii.            New measures to help the conservation of important wildbird species will attract rates of between €205 to €375 per hectare per year.

 

The full set of GLAS rates are set out at Annex 2.

 

  • GLAS will also include a Traditional Farm Buildings Measure.  Support will be available for an amount not exceeding 75% of total costs up to a maximum grant of €25,000

 

Areas of Natural Constraint inc. Island Farmers (€1,370m)

  • The current levels and structure of payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme (formerly known as the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme) will continue, pending the reassessment of the areas covered by the Scheme on the basis of new biophysical criteria which must be in place by 2018. 

 

  • A new top up payment for a separate category of Island Farmers has now been incorporated in the structure of the ANC Scheme.  This top up will compensate for the particular challenges faced by Island Farmers.  Where a farmer is resident on an island an additional €150 per forage hectare will be payable, subject to the maximum of €250 per hectare up to 34 hectares.  Where the farmer is not resident on the island the top up rate is €75 per forage hectare.

 

On Farm Capital Investment (€395m)

  • In relation to On Farm Capital Investment, the allocation for the new Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) II has been increased significantly to €395m.  It is intended that the initial strands of TAMSII to be launched will include Young Farmer Capital Investment, Beef and Sheep Handling and Weighing Equipment, Dairy Equipment, Low Emission Slurry Spreading and Organic Capital Investment.  TAMSII will subsequently be expanded to cover farm nutrient storage and animal housing.

 

Locally Led Agri-Environment Schemes (€70m)

  • The allocation for locally led targeted Agri-Environment Schemes has also been significantly increased to €70m over the lifetime of the RDP.  This allocation will fund two flagship schemes – namely an expansion of the Burren Farming for Conservation Scheme and new projects in Freshwater Pearl Mussel Catchment areas.  A number of further local targeted projects will also be identified for funding.

 

Organic Farming (€44m)

  • Following on from the recent consultation process, a significantly increased budget of €44m is being allocated to the Organic Farming Scheme in order to support growth in the sector more effectively.  In addition, a dedicated Capital Investment Scheme for the organic sector has been included in TAMS II.

 

  • All rates of payment are being increased: the standard rate of payment is €220/ha for conversion with maintenance rate of €170/ha, with higher rates of €300 (conversion) and €200 (maintenance) applying for Horticulture operations, and €260 (conversion) and €170 (maintenance) for Tillage operations.  In addition, a top-up of €30/ha for red-clover is included.  The higher horticultural rates will apply to the first six hectares only; thereafter the standard rate applies. For tillage farmers, the higher rate ceiling is 20 ha.

 

Support for collaborative farming (€3m)

  • Support for approved collaborative approaches to farming has also increased following the consultation process.  This support will assist with set up costs up to a maximum of €2,500 for farmers entering into approved collaborative models, and will aim to support 1,200 new collaborative ventures.

 

Beef Data and Genomics Programme (€295m)

  • The new Beef Data and Genomics Programme will build on the strong link between the sustainability of Irish beef production and maximising the contribution of Irish agriculture to national climate change initiatives.  This highly innovative programme will provide support to farmers to take samples for genotyping from selected animals in their herds and to provide vital breeding data to support the development of a national cattle breeding databank. This data will provide farmers with the tools to select higher quality and more efficient breeding replacements through the use of cutting edge genomic technology. The range of actions to be undertaken provides the basis for a payment of €80 applicable to each set of actions carried out per animal.

 

Knowledge Transfer Measures (€112m)

  • A suite of knowledge transfer measures will underpin the success of the new RDP, and will consist of support for Knowledge Transfer Groups across a number of sectors (including beef, sheep, dairy, equine, poultry and tillage), support for European Innovation Partnership Operational Groups, Continuous Professional Development for advisors, and targeted on farm advice in relation to key animal health and welfare issues.

 

Following consideration of the draft RDP by the European Commission, a period of detailed discussions on the content of the Programme will commence.  The adoption of an agreed RDP will be a matter of priority for the Department in the coming months.

In conclusion, Minister Coveney said: the range of measures contained in Ireland’s RDP represent vital supports across all sectors in the agri-food industry and for the wider rural economy.  The successful adoption of the RDP will underpin the continued development of the sector and ensure that rural Ireland continues to contribute to our ongoing economic recovery.”

 

Editors’ Notes

Further Detail in relation to RDP Schemes

 

Consultation on the new RDP

Public and stakeholder consultation has been a central feature of the design of this RDP.  Since December, 2012 a number of key consultation phases have ensured that the design of the RDP responds to the main priorities and challenges in the sector.  These consultation phases have included

  • An open call for submissions in relation to the Rural Development Priorities as set out in the Rural Development Regulation.  These Priorities establish the fundamental issues which all RDPs must address.
  • A stakeholder forum in July to develop the preparatory analyses underlying the RDP.
  • A further open call for submissions following on from the announcement of proposed RDP measures in January, 2014.
  • A final open call for submissions in May, 2013 focusing on the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the RDP.
  • A series of ongoing meetings with a wide range of stakeholders in relation to the detailed design of the RDP.

 

Key Details of RDP measures

 

1) GLAS and GLAS + (Total allocation of €1,450 million over the lifetime of the RDP)

The main elements of the Scheme are as follows:

  • GLAS will be a 5 year scheme with a maximum payment of €5,000 for up to 50,000 farmers.
  • In addition,   within the limits of budget availability, some farmers

who undertake particularly challenging actions may qualify for a top-up payment of up to €2,000 per annum under what is known as GLAS+.   For example, farmers who reach the full €5,000 maximum under GLAS on the back on mandatory Tier 1 actions will get priority access to GLAS+.

  • Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive payments will be integrated into the Scheme.
  • It is anticipated that 25,000 to 30,000 farmers will be accepted into the Scheme in 2015.

 

2) Organic Farming Scheme (€44 million)

The main elements of the Scheme are as follows:

  • The Scheme will be delivered as a stand alone scheme.
  • The standard rate of payment is €220/ha for conversion with maintenance rate of €170/ha, with higher rates of €300 (conversion) and €200 (maintenance) applying for Horticulture operations, and €260 (conversion) and €170 (maintenance) for Tillage operations.  In addition, a top-up of €30/ha for red-clover is included.  The higher horticultural rates will apply to the first six hectares only; thereafter the standard rate applies. For tillage farmers, the higher rate ceiling is 20 ha.

 

An organic capital investment scheme has been included in the new TAMS II

 

3) Locally Led and Targeted Agri-Environment Schemes (€70 million)

The main elements of the Schemes are as follows:

 

  • Two flagship projects will be supported.  It is intended to firstly support a doubling of the number of farmers in the current Burren Farming for Conservation Project.  Secondly, support will be targeted at projects in 9 Freshwater Pearl Mussel sites. 
  • In addition to these flagship projects, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine intend to operate a competitive process to identify further bespoke environmental schemes.

 

4) Areas of Natural Constraint (€1,370 million including support for Island Farmers)

The main elements of the Scheme are as follows:

  • It is intended to continue with the current level of support and designations.
  • There is a requirement for the area covered by the Scheme to be reassessed on the basis of new biophysical criteria from 2018 at the latest.  Work is ongoing in relation to this new designation.
  • A new category of support will be introduced in 2015 to specifically compensate for the particular challenges faced by Island Farmers.  Where a farmer is resident on an island an additional €150 per forage hectare will be payable, subject to the maximum of €250 per hectare up to 34 hectares.  Where the farmer is not resident on the island the rate is €75 per forage hectare.

 

5) TAMS II (€395 million)

The areas identified for initial funding are:

  • Dairy equipment
  • Low emission spreading equipment
  • Animal Welfare and Farm Safety, specifically beef and sheep handling facilities
  • Pig and poultry investments in energy, water meters and medicine dispensers
  • Organic Capital Investment (organic farmers only)
  • Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (which will include all the generally available TAMSII supports and also support for dairy buildings)

 

TAMSII will subsequently be expanded to cover farm nutrient storage and animal housing.

A general grant aid rate of 40% will apply, with 60% available for young farmers.  An investment ceiling of €80,000 will apply

A separate BioEnergy Scheme (a further €12m) will also be in place to support the production of willow and miscanthus.

 

6) Knowledge Transfer Measures

A suite of knowledge transfer measures will underpin the success of the RDP.  These include:

 

  • Knowledge Transfer Groups (€100 million) will be delivered in the beef, sheep, dairy, tillage, equine, and poultry sectors and will be a central support in developing the knowledge base to underpin sustainable growth in the sector.  Payments to participants will be approximately €750 per annum, with separate payment issuing directly to facilitators.
  •  European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Operational Groups (€4M) will provide a link between research and innovation and on the ground practices
  • Support for Continued Professional Development of Advisors (€2M) will ensure that the most up to date knowledge and best practice underlies the operation of RDP Schemes. 
  • Targeted On Farm Advisory Service (€6M) will be supported to deliver specific animal health and welfare advice to farmers on key issues.

 

7) Support for Collaborative Farming (€3m)

It is recognised that collaborative approaches to farming can address some of the structural, economic, and social challenges facing the sector.  This support will encourage greater take up of approved collaborative approaches by providing support aimed at alleviating the identified barrier of start up costs (legal, admin etc) in establishing such collaborations.

 

9) Beef Data and Genomics Programme (€295 million)

This highly innovative programme will draw on best practice and cutting edge technology in the area of genomics to deliver benefits for the suckler sector in terms of efficiency of production and herd quality.  These benefits will in particular feed into climate change benefits and competitiveness and productivity gains in the sector.  Payments under the scheme will be based on actions to be carried out, and will amount to €80 for each set of full actions carried out.

 

10) LEADER (€250 million)

The LEADER element of the RDP will continue to be delivered via the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.  The precise projects to be supported will emerge from the bottom up approach via the development of Local Development Strategies.  However, a number of central themes have emerged from consultations to date which will provide a framework for the development of these Local Development Strategies.  These themes are

  • Rural Economic Development / Enterprise Development / Job Creation incorporating rural tourism, enterprise development, broadband training and rural towns.
  • Social inclusion through building community capacity, training and animation, and
  • Rural environment.

 

Support for distinctive regional products and artisan food producers (incorporating support for honey and apple producers) have been incorporated into LEADER.  A ring fenced allocation of €15m has been allocated.

 

 

Sectoral Impacts

The preparatory work underlying the development of the new RDP ensures that the range of measures designed addresses real challenges facing the sector.  The set of measures have been strategically designed to be integrated and mutually supportive, and will be of very real benefit across all sectors as follows.

 

Beef

The main measures of direct benefit to the beef sector are

  • The new Beef Data and Genomics Programmes, which will build to total annual payments of some €52 million.  The Programme will lead to efficiency, competitiveness and quality gains in the sector via the use of cutting edge genomic technology.
  • Knowledge Transfer Groups will focus on identified skills needs in the sector.
  • The TAMS II will include a range of supports for beef farmers in areas such as animal handling facilities.
  • The targeted advisory animal health and welfare measure will assist farmers in dealing with challenges in this area.
  • The GLAS, Areas of Natural Constraint and Collaborative Farming measures will also be important supports for the sector.

 

Dairy

In addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the dairy sector, the following RDP measures will be of particular significance:

  • Specifically targeted support for on farm capital investment in dairy equipment, and a dairy buildings scheme for young farmers.
  • Knowledge Transfer Groups for dairy farmers.
  • The targeted advisory animal health and welfare measure will assist farmers in dealing with challenges in this area.
  • The GLAS, Areas of Natural Constraint and Collaborative Farming measures will also be import supports for the sector.

 

Sheep

The RDP will provide support to sheep farmers by means of a range of measures, including

  • A Knowledge Transfer Group aimed at improving efficiency and profitability in sheep production
  • GLAS will be an important support for sheep farmers in general.  In addition, sheep farmers on commonages (and other commonage shareholders) will be fast-tracked into GLAS, alongside other environmental priorities.  Key to fast-track entry to the Scheme will be the drafting of a commonage GLAS plan by a planner amongst 505 of the active farmers (or active farmers accounting for 50% of the land) concerned for the management of these valuable landscapes. 
  • Sheep farmers will continue to be significant beneficiaries from the ANC Scheme.
  • A series of capital investment schemes are being introduced under the TAMS II, several of which provide for sheep. 

 

Pigs and Poultry

The main measures of benefit to the sector are

  • Specifically targeted support for on farm capital investment in pig and poultry investments in energy, water meters and medicine dispensers.
  • Knowledge Transfer Groups for the poultry sector.
  • The targeted advisory animal health and welfare measure will assist farmers in dealing with challenges in this area.

 

Arable

The main measures of benefit to the sector are

  • On farm capital investment support for slurry storage on tillage farms.
  • A specific Knowledge Transfer Group for the tillage sector will be implemented.
  • The GLAS, Areas of Natural Constraint and Collaborative Farming measures will also be import supports for the sector.

 

Artisan/ Food SMEs

The need for support in these areas emerged from the preparatory analysis.  This has now been integrated into LEADER, with a specific allocation of €15m.

 

Island Communities

Following on from consultation with stakeholders, it has been decided to target support for Island Farmers via a new category within the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme. 

 

Forestry

It should be noted that, as previously, forestry will be addressed out of national funding and is not included in the co-funded RDP.

 

National Rural Network

The RDP will also fund the establishment of a National Rural Network to support the implementation of the RDP.  The work of the Network will include addressing specific issues identified in the preparation of the RDP including structural issues, gender balance in the sector, and possible networking supports for key sectors.

 

Annex 1 – GLAS Structure 

 

OBJECTIVE:

 

GLAS aims to address the cross-cutting objectives of climate change, water quality and biodiversity.

CORE

Core Management Requirements

 

All of these requirements are compulsory:

  • An approved agricultural planner must prepare the GLAS application
  • Nutrient Management Planning
  • Training in environmental practices and standards
  • Record keeping of actions delivered

 

 

PRIORITY

 

 

TIER 1 Priority Environmental Assets and Action

 

All farmers with PEAs get first priority access to the Scheme in Year One and subsequent years. It is not guaranteed that all eligible applicants in Tier 1 will get into the Scheme and a scoring matrix will apply if necessary.

 

If any of these Priority Assets are applicable to the holding, they must be chosen and the relevant actions planned.

  • Farmland Habitat (private Natura sites )
  • Farmland Birds  (Twite, Breeding Waders, Chough, Geese/swans, Corncrake, Grey Partridge, Hen Harrier)
  • Commonages (50% minimum participation in GLAS Commonage Plan)
  • High Status Water Area
  • Rare Breeds

Similarly, if an applicant (whether beef, sheep or dairy)  with a whole farm stocking-rate exceeding 140kg Livestock Manure Nitrogen per hectare produced on the holding, or any farmer with more than 30 ha of arable crops, wishes to be considered under Tier 1, s/he must adopt at least one of the following four mandatory actions: 

  • Low Emission Slurry Spreading
  • Minimum Tillage
  • Green Cover Establishment from a Sown Crop
  • Wild Bird Cover  (grassland farms  only)

 

 

Registered Organic farmers will qualify for priority access to the scheme under Tier 1, by selecting actions appropriate to the farm.  However, if any of the assets listed in the first set of bullet-points above apply, they must be chosen first.  Commitments under the Organic Farming Scheme will not qualify for payment under GLAS.

 

                   YEAR ONE    and subsequent years

 

SECONDARY

 

TIER 2 Environmental Assets and Actions

 

Farmers, who do not have Priority Environmental Assets but whose lands include a Vulnerable Water Area, may apply for access to the scheme under Tier 2.  In such cases, the appropriate actions relevant to Vulnerable Water Areas must be selected.

 

In the absence of a Vulnerable Water Area ,  an applicant may still qualify for Tier 2 access provided one of the following actions are chosen and planned for:

  • Low Emission Slurry Spreading
  • Minimum Tillage
  • Green Cover Establishment from a Sown Crop
  • Wild Bird Cover  (grassland farms only)

 

 

 

              YEAR TWO    and subsequent years

GENERAL

 

 

TIER 3 General Actions*

 

These actions aim to enhance the climate change, water quality and biodiversity benefits delivered and can be chosen in addition to Tier 1 and Tier 2 actions or on their own (choosing only General Actions will not guarantee entry to the Scheme):

 

  • Low Input Permanent Pasture
  • Traditional Hay Meadow
  • Riparian Margins
  • Coppicing Hedgerows
  • Laying Hedgerows
  • Planting New Hedgerows
  • Traditional Stone Wall Maintenance
  • Small Woodland Establishment
  • Environmental Management of Fallow Land
  • Arable Margins
  • Bird boxes
  • Bat boxes
  • Conservation of solitary bees
  • Native wild Flower margin
  • Wild Bird cover
  • Traditional Orchards
  • Protection of water courses (not in High Status or Vulnerable Areas)
  • Protection of archaeological sites

 

 

*A selection process will be used to allow farmers join GLAS by means of these actions if take-up of Tier 1 and Tier 2 actions falls short.

 

 

  YEAR TWO  (possibly)  or YEAR THREE  depending on funding

 

Annex 2 GLAS Actions Payment Rates

 

Action

€ per metre/year

€ per ha/year

€ per unit/year

€ per m3/year

Arable Grass Margins

       
  1. 3 metre margin

€0.35

     
  1. 4 metre margin

€0.50

     
  1. 6 metre margin

€0.70

     

Bat Boxes

   

  €13

 

Bird  Boxes

   

   €6

 

Conservation of Solitary Bees

       
  1. Box
   

  €6

 
  1. Sand
   

            €45

 

Conservation of Farmland Birds

       
  1. Breeding Waders
 

€366

   
  1. Chough Farm Scheme
 

€365

   
  1. Corncrake
 

€364

   
  1. Geese and Swans
 

€205

   
  1. Grey Partridge

€2.10

     
  1. Hen Harrier
 

€370

   
  1. Twite A: Semi Natural/Semi Improved Grassland Field Management Option
 

€375

   
  1. Twite B:  Improved Grassland Field Management Option

€1.50

     

Commonages - Collective Agreement

 

€120

   

Conservation of Private Natura Sites

 

  €79

   

Coppicing of Hedgerows

€2.20

     

Environmental Management of Fallow Land

 

€750

   

Green Cover Establishment from a sown crop

 

€155

   

Laying of Hedgerows

€3.70

     

Low Emission Slurry Spreading (per m3 per year)

     

€1.20

Low Input Permanent Pasture

 

€314

   

Minimum Tillage

 

TBC

   

Native Wild Flower Margin

€1.40

     

Planting New Hedgerows

TBC

     

Protection of Archaeological Sites

       
  1. Tillage Option
   

€146

 

b.     Grassland Option

   

€120

 

Protection of Water Courses from Bovines

€1.50

     

Rare Breeds (per L.U)

   

€200

 

Riparian Margins

       
  1. 3 metre margin

€0.90

     
  1. 6 metre margin

€1.20

     
  1. 10 metre margin

€1.60

     
  1. 30 metre margin

€3.60

     

Small Woodland Establishment

   

€0.90

 

Traditional Stone Wall Maintenance

€0.70

     

Traditional Hay Meadow

 

€315

   

Traditional Orchards

   

€23.50

 

Wild Bird Cover

 

€900

   

 

Annex 3 – Financial Allocations 

 

Measure

Total National and EAFRD

 

funding over RDP lifetime

 

€ Millions

GLAS / GLAS +

1450

Organic Farming Scheme

44

Locally led targeted Ari-Ennvironment Schemes

70

Areas of Natural Constraint (inc support for island farmers)

1370

TAMS II

395

BioEnergy

12

Knowledge Transfer Groups

100

EIP Operational Groups

4

CPD for advisors

2

Targeted Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Service

6

Support for Collaborative Farming

3

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

295

LEADER (incorporating the 2 Food Measures)**

250

Technical Assistance

6

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

4007

   
   

**There is a total allocation of €250m for LEADER

 

This incorporates €15m for the 2 food measures which are now to be delivered via LEADER

 

Allocations above contain amounts to be paid in respect of RDP 2007-2013 schemes in the transitional period between the new and old RDPs.  This is a common feature of the transition between two programming periods.

 

 View Press Release as a PDF:  DAFMPR 100/14 (pdf 869Kb) 

To view the Draft Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 and the associated documents please click here

Date Released: 03 July 2014