Common Agricultural Policy – changes to the strategic plan

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has announced changes to the Strategic Plan of the Common Agricultural Policy for 2023 – 2027.. They will mainly concern the rules for the use of payments by small farms, the merging of ecoschemes and cattle grazing registers. In order to implement the proposed changes, the budget for supplementary payments is expected to be increased by about 190 million euros. It is worth noting that they will be implemented only in the 2023 campaign, following a positive decision by the EC.

Strategic Plan Common Agricultural Policy 2023 – 2027 – proposals for change

  1. Financial support for small farms under direct payments in 2023;
  2. Simplification of the rules for granting support for ecoscheme Carbon agriculture and nutrient management;
  3. A reduction in the minimum stocking rate for the Premium for Sustainable Plant-Animal Production in Organic Agriculture;
  4. Introducing an additional (summer) deadline for implementing the soil cover standard (GAEC 6).

Taking advantage of the aforementioned changes will be possible after the farmer submits the relevant documents (request, application, amendments to the application) from August 1 to 31, 2023.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the proposed updates are a response to demands made by farmers and agricultural organizations to simplify the direct payment system. They will contribute to increasing the availability of support for producers, which is particularly important in the first year of CAP implementation for 2023 – 2027. The Common Agricultural Policy and related initiatives are an opportunity to raise additional funds to comply with new regulations, as well as a way to improve the plight of farmers resulting from the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

What should the payment for small farms look like?

Due to low interest in ecoschemes for farms up to 5 hectares, the Council of Ministers decided to introduce a lump sum payment for these farms. A farmer who has applied for payments in 2022 and 2023 will be eligible for a lump sum of 225 euros/ha instead of various payments. It is planned that the payment for small farms, will:

  • voluntary;
  • Transitional – implemented only in 2023. (Due to the difficulties associated with the first year of direct subsidies under the new rules – the smallest farms, which are predominantly family farms, will gain additional time to prepare and adapt to the requirements under the new rules – especially the ecoschemes);
  • Awarded to farms with up to 5 hectares of UR;
  • granted on the basis of a request (statement) made from August 1 to August 31, 2023;
  • aimed at farmers who have already applied for such payments for 2023. (under existing regulations) and only if they received support in the previous year (or are the legal successors of such farmers).

The rate of 225 euros/ha exceeds the combined level of the two most widely used direct payments, namely. basic income support and redistributive payment, so the solution will encourage a significant portion of small farms to apply.

Since, according to EU regulations, the small farm payment replaces other types of direct support, a farmer who applies for this payment will not be able to receive money from other types of direct payments, including ecoschemes (this does not apply to Pillar II area payments, e.g. agri-environmental and climate payments, LFA payments).

Carbon farming and nutrient management – proposals for changes in the ecoscheme address:

  1. waive the condition relating to the need to obtain a minimum number of points;
  2. The possibility of combining the following practices on one surface:
    • winter intercrops/intercrops with practitioners:
      • mixing manure on arable land within 12 hours of application
      • Use of liquid natural fertilizers by methods other than splashing.
    • Mixing straw and soil with practices:
      • mixing manure on arable land within 12 hours of application
      • Use of liquid natural fertilizers by methods other than splashing.
  3. reduction from 100% to 50% of the area of the farm (arable land and permanent grassland) on which the Fertilization Plan is to be implemented as part of the practice Developing and adhering to the Fertilization Plan.

For details on the Carbon Agriculture and Nutrient Management ecoscheme, see a previous issue of Water Issues.

Organic farming

In order to enable a wider range of farmers to benefit from organic payments under the Strategic Plan for the Common Agricultural Policy 2023 – 2027, it is proposed:

  1. Lowering the lower limit of the range for animal stocking rates (from 0.5 LU/ha to 0.3 LU/ha of all UR on the farm), which should help increase farmers’ interest in making commitments under the intervention, primarily among those with animals in numbers that do not allow them to meet the current “entry” condition;
  2. Reduction from 0.5 DJP/ha to 0.3 DJP/ha of the minimum stocking rate when farmers apply for payments for forage crops and TUZ.

It is worth mentioning that analogous changes are envisaged for implementation under the Organic Agriculture measure of the RDP 2014 – 2020.

Changes in conditionality

As part of conditionality – in terms of GAEC Standard 6 for maintaining soil cover from November 1 to February 15 of the following year – it is planned:

  1. Introducing an additional deadline for leaving soil cover, i.e. From June 1 or from the date of harvesting the main crop until October 15 of the year in question;
  2. Introducing derogations from the application of the standard for crops harvested late from the field.

Details of the conditionality system applicable to direct payments and area payments from 2023. can be found in a previous issue of Water Issues.

Changes in the ecoschemistry Animal welfare

In addition, changes are planned to the Animal Welfare ecoscheme. In order to simplify the way in which the implementation of grazing practices or the provision of paddocks for suckler cows and fattening cows is documented, the requirement for the farmer to keep appropriate records on an ongoing basis will be replaced by a declaration. This is intended to reduce the administrative burden and make it easier for farmers to participate in the Animal Welfare ecoscheme.

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