IFA Environment & Rural Affairs Chair Paul O’Brien said that supports will be vital to enable farmers to comply with the series of new measures set out in Ireland’s fifth Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) 2022-2025.
Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme is given effect by the European Communities.
The regulations contain specific measures to protect surface waters and groundwater from nutrient pollution arising from agricultural sources.
“The new Nitrates Programme will have significant implications for farmers across all sectors. Some of the new measures have financial implications and it is going to be important that farmers are supported either through grant aid or Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) schemes to meet the greater environmental standards, which will benefit the entire country,” he said.
Paul O’Brien said this year is shaping up to be an incredibly challenging year for farming across all sectors. “The renewed focus on food security has to underpin all policy decisions in farming,” he said.
“It’s important that the Department is cognisant of the challenges facing farmers and takes this into account during the transition to the new NAP,” he said.
“Some of the measures will have an immediate effect on farm businesses in 2022. For others, farmers need to be start to planning for this year,” he said.
He said it was very disappointing that the Department had introduced the measure to reduce total N to 2.4 kg/N (from 5 kg/N) without consultation. This will have massive implications for farmers who export slurry.
He said that IFA had asked the Department to introduce any changes collectively following the review of the technical tables to minimise disruption and allow farmers time to prepare.
“There are a number of significant changes that farmers need to start planning for now that will be introduced on 1st January 2023. This includes the compulsory usage of LESS for all farmers operating above 150kg livestock N/ha,” he said.