Zero set-aside rate in 2008
Sinn Féin Farm Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has welcomed the EU decision to have a zero set-aside rate in 2008.
The Minister said:
"This decision is an appropriate response to the current market situation which has seen a sharp increase in cereal and subsequently animal feed prices. It will also bring some simplification to the Single Farm Payment (SFP) scheme in 2008, which is to be welcomed."
In the 2008 SFP Scheme year, land on which set-aside entitlements are claimed may be used for production provided the crop grown is eligible for SFP. However this is the only change being made to SFP in 2008 as regards set-aside. Consequently, set-aside entitlements must continue to be claimed first and the land on which they are claimed must be set-aside eligible (i.e. have been used for an arable crop in at least one of the years 1998 - 2003.) Land used to claim set-aside entitlements will remain ineligible for Energy Crop premium.
The rules applying to crops grown for non-food purposes on land used to claim set-aside entitlements continue to apply in 2008. However for crops which are otherwise eligible for SFP e.g. oilseed rape, it is immaterial whether these crops are used for food or non-food purposes next year. Crops which are otherwise ineligible for SFP, such as short-rotational coppice, may continue to be grown on land used to claim set-aside entitlements in 2008 but the non-food rules must be complied with in full.
Producers may also continue to voluntarily set land aside as under SFP rules land need not be used for agricultural production. There are no specific rules for voluntary set-aside (unless the land is in an agri-environmental or other scheme) but such land will need to be kept in good agricultural and environmental condition (GAEC) and the other provisions of cross compliance also apply.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The 2008 zero set-aside rate applies to crops planted in Autumn 2007 and Spring 2008.
- This decision is effective for 2008 only. Unless there are further changes to EU legislation in the future, set-aside will apply again in 2009.