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Coveney Announces Further Details on €4 Billion Rural Development Programme, 2014-2020

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced full financial allocations as well as important new details in relation to the support measures to be included in the new Rural Development Programme (RDP), 2014-2020.  Work is ongoing in relation to the design of the RDP and it is intended to submit the Programme to the EU Commission at the end of June, 2014.

Minister Coveney said: “The new Rural Development Programme will be a vital support to Rural Ireland in terms of enhancing the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, managing natural resources in a sustainable manner, and ensuring the balanced development of rural areas.  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 over €4billion in the period to 2020.”

Minister of State Tom Hayes commented: “The design of RDP schemes will ensure that support is targeted at fostering innovation, improving competitiveness and underpinning increased sustainability.  The RDP will also be a key tool in achieving the ambitious smart, green, growth targets as set out in Food Harvest 2020.”

The details of RDP schemes outlined today form part of the public consultation which will  commence this week as part of the Strategic Environmental Analysis (SEA) which is required to be carried out on the new RDP.  Public and stakeholder consultation has been a key element in the design of RDP schemes to date.  In particular, the scheme details announced today draw on the feedback received from the public consultation on the proposed RDP measures launched by the Minister in January, 2014.

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.  It is anticipated that some 25,000-30,000 farmers will be accepted into the Scheme in 2015.  The targeted structure of the Scheme has been refined following the recent public consultation, and it is expected that this Scheme will deliver substantial, biodiversity, 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+.  Initially, this payment will be targeted at farmers who have to undertake a high number of mandatory actions under the Tier 1 Priority Environmental Assets and Actions, but other options for GLAS+ will be explored over the course of the RDP.

 

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

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

 

  • However, it is also proposed to add a top up payment for a separate category of Island Farmers within the structure of the ANC Scheme.  This top up will compensate for the particular challenges faced by Island Farmers.  Work is ongoing in relation to setting the rate for this top up payment.

 

On Farm Captital 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.  This is an increase of €100m over the allocation proposed in the original RDP consultation document of January.  It is intended that support for investments in dairy equipment, beef and sheep handling equipment, pigs and poultry, slurry on tillage farms, and low emissions spreading equipment will be prioritised in terms of the timing of scheme launches.  Young farmers will also be eligible for a preferential rate of 60% grant aid.

 

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 will be included in TAMS II.

 

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 for farmers entering into new 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 has been further developed to 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 selection of more efficient animals with the right genetics for easy calving and high weight gain thereafter,  that can be finished earlier,  will have a substantial environmental dividend and will also contribute to improving productivity, reducing input costs and

 

  • Improving margins for farmers.  I expect to be able to announce further details on this scheme over the coming weeks.

 

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, pigs/poultry and equine), 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.

 

In addition to the above, I have asked officials in my Department to examine the possibility of two further possible supports, namely

  • introducing small but innovative measures to support producers of honey and apples in the context of the high levels of local market opportunities in those sectors, and
  • support for encouraging the restoration of traditional farm buildings, which form an important part of our rural heritage.

 

Further detailed information is available on the Department’s website.  This information sets out a number of draft chapters of the new RDP outlining the measure descriptions as well as some of the preparatory analysis underlying the design of the RDP.  This information will form the basis of the consultation phase of the current Strategic Environmental Analysis which will commence later this week.  Following this consultation process, it is expected to submit a draft of the RDP to the European Commission by the end of June, 2014.

 

In conclusion, Minister Coveney said: the range of measures outlined today represent vital supports across all sectors in the agri-food industry and for the wider rural economy.  This RDP, which will entail supports amounting to over €4 billion in its lifetime, 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 Scheme Details and SEA Consultation Process

 

The SEA process

As part of the design process for the new RDP, a Strategic Environmental Assessment including a period of public consultation is required.  The further scheme detail announced today will form part of that process.  Later this week, the commencement of the 4 week SEA consultation process will be advertised.  As part of this process the following documents will be made available

  • The draft Environmental Report on the proposed RDP measures as carried out by independent, external consultants.
  • The draft Appropriate Assessment Report on the proposed RDP measures as carried out by independent, external consultants.
  • Draft material prepared by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as part of the RDP process.  Specifically this will include the following detail
  • Preparatory analyses underlying the design of the RDP – namely the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis and the Needs Identification required for all RDPs
  • A chapter entitled “Description of Strategy” which sets out how the proposed RDP measure addresses the Rural Development objectives and priorities as set out at EU level.
  • A chapter describing each measure.
  • The total amount of funding allocated to each measure.

Details in relation to the consultation process will be published on the Department’s website and in the national press.

 

Key Details of RDP measures (financial allocations and RDP timelines set out in Annexes 2 & 3)

 

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,  it is envisaged that, 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+.   The initial targeting of this GLAS+ payment will be at farmers who have to undertake a high number of mandatory actions under the Tier 1 Priority Environmental Assets and Actions.

  • 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.
  • Increased payment rates are currently being examined in order to more effectively support growth in the sector.

An organic capital investment scheme will be 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 are also in discussions with the EU Commission in relation to the best approach to identifying a further number of priority projects for funding.

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, although work is ongoing in relation to the underlying costings.
  • 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.  The costing of this top up payment is currently being developed.

 

5) TAMS II (€395 million)

The areas identified for funding are:

  • Farm nutrient storage
  • Animal housing
  • Dairy equipment
  • Low emission spreading equipment
  • Animal Welfare and Farm Safety
  • Pig and poultry investments in energy, water meters and medicine dispensers
  • Organic Capital Investment (organic farmers only)
  • Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (including the above areas and dairy buildings)

It is intended that support for investments in dairy equipment, beef and sheep handling equipment, pigs and poultry, slurry on tillage farms, and low emissions spreading equipment will be prioritised initially.

A general grant aid rate of 40% will apply, with 60% available for young farmers.

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, pig and poultry sectors and will be a central support in developing the knowledge base to underpin sustainable growth in the sector.
  •  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.

 

8) Food Measures (€15m)

Two food measures were proposed in the original RDP Consultation Document in January, 2014, namely support for collaborative projects among artisan food producers and collaborations among distinctive, regional primary producers.  Both these measures are intended to address identified barriers in terms of access to markets, integration into food chains, problems of scale etc.  Following the consultation process, it is now intended that these measures will build on the existing expertise developed in LEADER projects in previous programming periods, and will thus be delivered via the LEADER mechanism.

 

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.

 

10) LEADER (€250 million[1])

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.

 

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 new and existing 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 conclusion of a collective agreement amongst the commonage-owners 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.  These include assistance for sheep housing as well as handling equipment, both fixed and mobile.

 

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 sectors.
  • 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

Two targeted measure in this area are being developed, namely support for collaborative projects among artisan food producers and collaborations among distinctive, regional primary producers.  Both these measures are intended to address identified barriers and both will be delivered via the LEADER mechanism.

 

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.  The rate for this top up payment is currently being examined.

 

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:

  • A Farm Advisory Service (FAS) approved agricultural planner must prepare 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 scoring matrix will apply if  necessary.

 

If  any of these Assets  are applicable to your holding, you must choose them, plan the relevant actions, and as a result you will receive priority access to GLAS in the order 1 – 5 as follows (NB order not finalised):

  1. Farmland Habitat (private Natura sites )
  2. Farmland Birds (e.g. Twite, Curlew, Corncrake, Grey Partridge, Hen Harrier)
  3. Commonages (80% participation Note: lower participation levels addressed in Tier 2)
  4. High Status Water Area
  5. Rare Breeds

If your wholefarm stocking-rate exceeds 140kg Livestock Manure Nitrogen per hectare (produced on the holding), or you have greater than 30 ha of arable crops, you may still qualify for priority access even if you do not have one of the Priority Assets listed above.  To qualify, you must undertake one of the following 4 actions. These places will be filled in order 6 – 9 (NB order not finalised):

 

  1. Low Emission Slurry Spreading
  2. Minimum Tillage
  3. Green Cover Establishment from a Sown Crop
  4. Wild Bird Cover  (grassland farms  only)

 

Finally, if you are a registered Organic farmer you may apply for priority access to the scheme

under this tier, by selecting actions appropriate to the environmental priorities on your farm. 

However, if any of the assets listed from 1-5 above apply, you must choose them first.

 

                   YEAR ONE    and subsequent years

 

SECONDARY

 

TIER 2 Environmental Assets and Actions

 

All farmers with Environmental Assets and Actions get secondary access to the Scheme. It is not guaranteed that all eligible applicants in Tier 2 will get into the Scheme and scoring matrix will apply if necessary.

 

If any of these Assets are applicable to your holding you must  choose them and as a result you will get secondary access (once Tier I is filled) to the Scheme in the order 1 - 2:

  1. Commonages (50% - 79% participation)
  2. Vulnerable Water Area

If you wish to be considered for secondary access (but none of the above are applicable to your farm), you must choose one of the following 4 actions. These places will be filled in order 3 - 6 (NB order not finalised):

  1. Low Emission Slurry Spreading
  2. Minimum Tillage
  3. Green Cover Establishment from a Sown Crop
  4. Wild Bird Cover  (grassland farms only)

 

 

Farmers in Tier 2 will get  access in sequence in subsequent years also (if they apply)

              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 Priority and Secondary 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
  • Tree Planting (whips)
  • Environmental Management of Fallow Land
  • Arable Margins
  • Birds, Bees and Bat Boxes
  • Wild Flower margin
  • Wild Bird cover for tillage farmers
  • 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 Priority and Secondary Assets and Actions falls short.

 

 

  YEAR TWO  (possibly)  or YEAR THREE  depending on funding

 

Annex 2 – 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

 

Annex 3 – RDP Timelines

 

Week beginning 12 May – SEA public consultation will be opened this week.

 

End June 2014 – Target date for submission of Ireland’s draft RDP to the EU Commission

 

22 July 2014 – Regulatory deadline set for submission of draft RDP

 

July onwards – period of negotiation with EU Commission on draft RDP.



[1] The LEADER allocation of €250m consists of €235m plus the €15m allocated for the 2 Food Measures to be delivered via LEADER.

Added 13.05.14

View Press Release as PDF:  DAFMPR 72/2014 (pdf 1,206Kb) 

Date Released: 13 May 2014