Most of our farming clients will be aware the European Commission has published its proposed plans to reform the CAP after 2013.  The new scheme is expected to start on 1 January 2014 and is due to run until 2020.

The main proposals from the reports published by the European Commission are listed below and are currently subject to intense debate:

1)  The aim of the proposals is to support farmers’ income in a fairer, more targeted and simpler way.  This will only support ‘active farmers’ and payments above  €150,000 may be capped. A flat rate of between €500 and €1,000 will be created for ‘small farmers’.

2) 30% of payments are likely to be specifically for ‘Green’ payments.

3) Aid is expected to available for farmers under the age of forty during the first five years of the project to help the younger generation.

4) Additional support is projected for farmers in areas with ‘natural handicaps’.  This will not replace support already available under the rural developments policy.

As well as the above changes, the Commission also states that the ‘administrative burdens’ will be reduced by simplifying the procedures.

These proposals may be subject to amendment but the reform of the CAP will definitely take place and farmers need to be prepared for the likely reduction in support payments.