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CAP 2020 Environmental Measures must be results based

10 April 2017
CAP 2020 Environmental Measures must be results based

Macra na Feirme recently launched its CAP 2020 policy which recognises the need for CAP 2020 to focus on results-based environmental measures where payments are directly linked to specific outcomes. When paid according to outcomes, there is an incentive to use land for production that will produce the best environmental results. Costs are easier to justify and results-based measures create common goals and reduce friction leading to cooperation between farmers, conservationists and environmentalists.

Speaking at the launch of the document, Macra na Feirme National President Sean Finan said, “Young farmers are the new environmentalists and the custodians of the countryside. Young farmers having grown up in an environmentally aware era, are more than willing to maintain our rural environments to the highest standards with full recognition that the rural countryside is a public good, for the enjoyment of all European citizens.”

Along with the production of food, farmers and farming can provide valuable ecosystem services to society such as, safe clean water, regulation of nutrient cycles, control of disease, crop pollination, and enhancement of biodiversity as well as cultural, spiritual and recreational benefits.

At the CAP 2020 policy launch Macra na Feirme Agricultural Affairs Vice Chair Thomas Duffy said, "Results based measures perform the dual role of having demonstrable outcomes and giving farmers a stake in but also responsibility over environmental improvement. It is of vital importance for their success that environmental measures engage farmers and give them a stake in their success."

A successful results-based measure would be the Burren Life project, an award winning environmental scheme which helps protect the unique biodiversity of the Burren.  An example of a management-based environmental measure would be the Wild Bird cover measures under the GLAS (Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme) programme which is no doubt yielding results but without a base line we have no idea how successful it has been.

Macra na Feirme fully recognises the significance of the COP21 global agreement on climate change and sees young farmers having a pivotal role in mitigating climate change and protecting the environment whilst fulfilling the EU food security needs.

Sean Finan continued, “Young farmers support the European Council’s conclusions as part of the EU’s 2030 Climate Change and Energy Policy Framework (Oct 2014) which recognises the unique relationship between agriculture, the environment and food security.”

Macra na Feirme also proposes the introduction of measures to promote on-farm renewable energy production.

Sean Finan concluded, “With mounting pressure globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the EU committing to reduce emissions by 10% based on 2005 levels, there is a need to be innovative in the ways we produce our energy. Macra na Feirme proposes measures be introduced to promote more on-farm renewable energy production. In some cases - such as with anaerobic digesters - such schemes should be a target on a collaborative basis between farms.”

Full details of the Macra na Feirme CAP 2020 policy is available at www.macra.ie/downloads