The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) is contesting the narrative that the current CAP proposals will undermine the income of Irish farmers.

Mayo Chair Seamus Cosgrave argues that nationally, under a full flattening of payments,  72,710 farmers will gain, representing 60% of all farmers while in Mayo, 8116 farmers will benefit which accounts for 73% of the county's farmers.

With the EU Parliament holding their ground for the full flattening of payments it is he says “unbelievable that a Parliament in Brussels is more in touch with the needs of Irish farmers than many of the public and farming representatives here.

A full flattening of Pillar 1 payments would see all farmers paid a national average by 2026 of €265/ha which includes the proposed eco-scheme. This will be delivered through the convergence of payments over the lifetime of the CAP Programme.

For Mayo this would see an annual increase in payments to the counties farmers of €15 million”

Another proposal outlined at EU level is the option to front-load payments through the Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS). This, he says “allows countries to target additional payments on the first number of hectares to support small holders. To fund this, a country can put a limit on the maximum payment and if required apply a cut to the overall Pillar 1 budget”.

Seamus Cosgrove says the INHFA are supporting this as “it will benefit small holders and potentially increase the payments for farmers on the first 10-20ha to over €300/ha. This will be critical to a county like Mayo where the average farm size is 22ha”.