The Irish Farmers' Association has criticised the allocation of funds under the new Common Agricultural Policy, which was agreed at overnight talks in Brussels.

The new CAP budget is €356.3bn, a €35.2bn reduction on what was original proposed.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said the deal agreed does not match with the EU’s Green Deal aspirations, which seek to develop more environmentally friendly and sustainable farming practices.

"On the one hand the Commission wants farmers to take costly actions to implement the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies, but on the other hand they don’t want to provide the necessary funding," Mr Cullinan said.

The Tipperary-based farmer said the Irish Government will have to make up any shortfall or reduction in payments, which could result from the reduction in funding for the CAP.

"The Government will need to come forward with significant co-financing to protect payments. What farmers will want to know is how these figures, together with national co-financing from the Government, will translate into payments at farm level," he said. 

The reduction in funding for rural development measures, or Pillar II, from €15bn to €7.5bn is a particular point of concern in Ireland.

However, Ireland will have access to a so-called Brexit contingency fund which is worth €5bn. 

Every four in ten Euro spent under the new CAP will involve climate measures, to reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment. 

The Basic Payment Scheme, under which farmers receive payments is to be replaced by a new payment called, Basic Income Support for Sustainability and will be capped at €100,000 per farmer.

Read more
EU reaches deal on post-pandemic recovery package

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association president said it was "already clear that agriculture has taken a hit compared to the previous programme period of 2014-2020". 

Pat McCormack said the Government must outline the country-by-country allocation and by how much Ireland's overall allocations under Pillar I and Pillar II are reduced. 

He said it must be made clear "how our Government intends to make up that reduction". 

The ICMSA President said: "There's no point whatsoever in Ireland getting more funds under a Covid heading to be distributed amongst larger commercial businesses affected by the pandemic, if we've lost the same or greater under a CAP heading that would have been distributed amongst farm families and through them into the wider rural economy." 

He said, "all we've done is sign off on an arrangement that diverts money from the economically most disadvantaged areas to sectors and areas that are often more economically developed". 

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association said the agreement was necessary "to provide economic certainty but it is very hard to see how farmers can do all they are being asked in the context of significantly reduced CAP funding". 

ICSA president Edmond Phelan said, "The whole process has been complicated immeasurably by the Covid crisis. The Next Generation EU (NGEU) fund of €750 billion, of which €390 billion is grant aid, is very necessary to underpin EU economic recovery. However, the farming sector is not getting a fair share particularly with the last-minute halving of the recovery support for the rural development budget which was meant to be €15 billion and is now coming in at €7.5 billion." 

Mr Phelan said, "It is inconceivable how farmers are expected to provide so many additional public goods in terms of climate and biodiversity on an ever-decreasing funding regime."