Commissioner Hogan confirmed the decision following requests from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs in the UK, to exempt arable farmers in Northern Ireland and Scotland from the requirements for crop diversification under the greening provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Requirements will also be eased for farmers in other parts of the UK.
The decision to propose a derogation for arable farmers in Northern Ireland and Scotland and an easing of the rules for farmers in parts of England and Wales follows an earlier decision to propose a derogation for arable farmers in Ireland.
In all cases, exceptional and, in some cases, near-record levels of rainfall in recent months have left tillage farmers either unable to or with great difficulty in preparing the ground to sow crops, particularly spring crops, with the optimum sowing date having passed for the most commonly used crops.
In view of the exceptional levels of rainfall, which is supported by meteorological data, Commissioner Hogan has concluded that the only effective support that can be provided to farmers is to reduce the requirements for crop diversification, either through a full derogation from or an easing of those requirements.