agricultural sustainability

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CAP Reform: 

CAP Reform Luxembourg Agreement 2003 Breaking the link between production and subsidy Single payment per farm based on historical entitlements Cross compliance criteria: Binding standards in the areas of: Environmental protection Food Safety Animal Health and Welfare Occupational Safety


EU European Union has recognised that in return for receipt of direct agricultural support farmers have important responsibilities towards the protection of the environment, animal health and welfare, and public health. Farmers must therefore observe certain conditions in the above areas in return for receipt of direct agricultural support. This is known as “Cross-Compliance”. Cross-Compliance


Cross-Compliance There are two elements to the Cross-Compliance standards farmers must meet:- Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC)

EU Rural Development Regulations: 

EU Rural Development Regulations 3 Strategic Objectives Minimum 25% budget spend on enhancing the environment. Increasing competitiveness Enhancing environment Enhancing quality of life, promoting diversification.


Implementation of the Nitrates Directive

Aims of Directive : 

Aims of Directive The Nitrates Directive aims to reduce and prevent the pollution of water caused by nitrates from agricultural sources It is designed both to safeguard current and future drinking water resources and to prevent wider ecological damage in the form of eutrophication

Water Pollution in Northern Ireland: 

Water Pollution in Northern Ireland Eutrophication – the major environmental challenge for water environment. Eutrophication – an excess of nutrients – nitrate and phosphate – in the water. Approx 80% of NI’s land drains into eutrophic waters. Agriculture is a major contributor to nitrate and phosphorus loadings.

Nitrates policy development: 

Nitrates policy development DOE/DARD collaboration Evidence-based policy Multi-disciplinary team Extensive stakeholder work


Action Programme : main measures under consideration following recent consultation exercise Closed periods : 1 October – 31 January for manure ; 1 September – 15 February for chemical fertiliser Manure storage requirements – 22 weeks; 26 weeks, pig and poultry farms The application limit on livestock manure of 170 kg N/ha/year Record keeping Phosphate controls


Farm Nutrient Management Scheme (FNMS) Key support measure to assist farmers comply with Nitrates Directive Capital grant support to assist investment in new or improved slurry and manure storage facilities DARD has secured funding of £45 million for the FNMS Some 10,000 farmers have submitted preliminary applications Limited timescale for completion of works of 30 November 2006 is a condition of EU State Aid Approval


Delivery of Strategic Objectives Legal obligation to implement the Nitrates Directive Necessary for ‘cross-compliance’ and the ‘Single Farm Payment’ The Water Framework Directive : all water bodies to achieve at least good status by 2015.

Northern Ireland Rural Development Plan 2000-2006: 

Northern Ireland Rural Development Plan 2000-2006 The NIRDP is funded by the European EAGGF and modulated monies The Plan’s agri-environment programme aims to foster environmentally friendly and sustainable farming practices Currently there are 3000 members with 3,500 being admitted this year and a further 5,000 awaiting assessment

Northern Ireland Rural Development Plan Contribution: 

Northern Ireland Rural Development Plan Contribution Countryside Management Environmentally Sensitive Areas Organic Farming Entry Level Countryside Management (opening autumn 2005) There are 4 schemes all of which contribute to the WFD, principally by the restriction of nutrient and pesticide use on vulnerable habitats.

Helpful Scheme Options: 

Helpful Scheme Options Ungrazed Grass Margins Protect from fertiliser, herbicide and pesticide pollution Reduce contamination by drinking livestock Reduce the risk of bank erosion Farm Waste Management Plan Manage farm wastes and must be updated annually Reduce the risk of pollution to farm groundwaters and watercourses A wide range of options is available in each scheme, those shown below deliver clearly identifiable WFD associated benefits

Habitat Protection: 

Habitat Protection Habitats, such as fen, swamp and reedbeds are protected. This translates into the following management practices No reclamation, infilling, dumping, drainage allowed No application of slurry, farmyard manure, lime, herbicide, pesticide or sheep dip allowed WFD benefits are as follows No loss of habitat Reduced risk of pollution of groundwaters and watercourses

The Future: 

The Future The current NIRDP agri-environment programme closes in 2006 A new Rural Development Regulation is under discussion for the period 2007-2013 The NIRDP which will emerge from this will be much more environmentally proactive and will include specific WFD objectives

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