IFA isolated on its stance over CAP salary exemptions
THE majority of farm organisations are opposed to a salary exemption as proposed in the next CAP.
In its most recent CAP proposals, which would govern the CAP from 2020, the European Commission is proposing a reduction of payments above €60,000, with compulsory capping for payments above €100,000.
However, under the proposals, the Commission says all Member States must allow for labour costs to be taken fully into account, which would allow farmers who receive large payments to deduct the value of salaries or on-farm labour from the direct payments received before the cap is applied.
All the main farming organisations, bar IFA, have said they are opposed to the proposed salary exemption.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has said his Department would engage with all of the farm organisations on all the issues relating to CAP, including whether it takes into account salaries and the convergence issue.
According to IFA, if there is more than one member of the family working on the farm, the regulations should reflect this.
“It is important that any proposals take account of the Irish family farm model where it is often the case that more than one generation is making a living from the farm,” IFA President Joe Healy said.
“Farmers should be able to pay €60,000 for labour units and after that make sure it goes to a genuine farmer who is depending on the land to live.”
However, INHFA has said no farmer should receive more than €60,000 in Pillar 1 payments
It says the European Commission’s proposals talk of a €60,000 limit, but it’s really a €100,000 limit as the proposals envisage a degressive cut to payments that stand between €60,000 and €100,000.
The President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said his organisation does not support the salary exemption.
“The idea of a salary exemption is, in ICMSA’s opinion, unworkable and would be open to manipulation thus making it unfair.
“The key point in relation to payments, and the one to which every other consideration is secondary, is that — going forward — they must actually benefit the person farming the land.”
ICSA General Secretary Eddie Punch said there should be no salary exemption.
“It would be absurd if the average farmer continues to get €9,000 and they are continuing to be cut when someone could avoid a €100,000 cap by saying they have a few guys working for them, so they should get €160,000.
“If they want to hire on extra labour, hurrah, but it can’t be taken out of a pot that can’t even pay a self-employed farmer more than €9,000,” he said.