Thomas Pringle has been working with Luke ‘Ming’ Flannagan MEP to force the government to flatten the Basic Payment Scheme in the CAP negotiations bringing an additional €17m to Donegal farmers annually.
Pringle says the majority of farmers in Donegal are small farmers mostly on marginal land and hill farms.
“They are farming in a more natural and environmentally friendly way than the big farmers who have been benefiting from CAP payments.
“Under the BPS the Irish government has, to date, been awarding payments to the benefit of larger farmers down the country, with some getting up to €450 per hectare while some smaller farmers in Donegal have been getting less than €150 in many cases.
“This is unacceptable,” he said.
In December, Luke #Ming’ Flannagan MEP, secured an amendment in the European Parliament which means the Irish government will now have to flatten BPS payments to around €260 per hectare for all farmers.
Pringle says Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments have been dividing farm payments in a way that benefits larger farmers rather than all farmers.
“This has to stop as smaller farmers are managing the land in a far more sustainable way that supports biodiversity and lower carbon emissions.
“I have been supporting the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) who have been campaigning for this reform.
“I also support their call to have restrictions on the Green and Low carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS) lifted to increase participation to the environmentally friendly scheme.
“Small farmers on marginal land have a vital role to play in capturing carbon emissions and decreasing biodiversity loss.
“This can be done by supporting them to maintain bog land, planting native species of hardwood trees rather than massive sitka spruce plantations, and by maintaining habitats that support a wide range of biodiversity,” he said.