IFA iso­lated on its stance over CAP salary ex­emp­tions

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - MAR­GARET DON­NELLY AND CIARAN MO­RAN

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.

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