Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs what provision can be made within Farm Sustainability Payments for holdings of less than five hectares where established intense farm activity takes place.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: Earlier this year, following a comprehensive consultation exercise, I announced policy decisions which will provide a more targeted approach to help farmers to develop their businesses, no matter where they farm, to become more productive, profitable and resilient, and to maximise the sustainable returns from the assets at their disposal. A key mechanism in achieving this will be the creation of a Farm Sustainability Payment (FSP) to replace the Basic Payment Scheme.
I also made the decision to restrict eligibility for FSP to those businesses claiming 5 or more hectares of eligible land. No provision can be made within FSP for those businesses with less than 5 ha of eligible land irrespective of the intensity of farming activity being undertaken.
However, such businesses may retain eligibility for other support measures that will be launched in the future including the Farming with Nature Package. All land managers with 3 ha or more of eligible agricultural land who meet the scheme requirements will be eligible to participate in this measure. This includes land under conacre and common land.