Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (515)

Thomas Pringle


515. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures he plans to take to improve the accessibility and affordability of farm advisory services to farmers from Teagasc under the next CAP. [37601/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The CAP post-2020 proposals, launched by Commissioner Hogan on 1 June 2018, make it compulsory for Member States to provide farm advisory services on land and farm management to farmers and other beneficiaries of CAP support. The farm advisory services are expected to cover, at a minimum, the requirements and standards under conditionality, conditions for support schemes, information on financial instruments and business plans, farm practices that prevent the development of antimicrobial resistance, risk management, innovative support and the development of digital technologies in agriculture and rural areas.

Teagasc advisory services make an important contribution to the provision of advice and support to farm families. My Department provides Teagasc with significant exchequer funding each year in order to support the delivery of these education, research and advisory services. In excess of €135m was provided in Grant Aid in 2019, an increase of €2.7m on 2018. The allocation of that funding between the various services is an operational matter for Teagasc and its governing Authority.

The fee structure for Teagasc advisory services is structured to ensure that the service is accessible to all farmers by having a range of services that farmers can avail of with different fees. The current fee schedule and methodology is open and transparent and available on the Teagasc website.

As regards the Common Agricultural Policy 2021-2027, negotiations on the draft proposals are continuing at EU level. While significant progress has been made to date, decisions on key issues have still to be agreed upon at EU level,  including those relating to Farm Advisory Services.