Common Agricultural Policy Reform

Minister announces Pillar I Technical decisions

The DARD Minister has announced a number of CAP reform technical decisions on 8 April 2014 for which there was significant support from stakeholders in the recent CAP Pillar 1 consultation.  These can be viewed at the link below

DARD Consultation

Pillar I - Direct Payments

DARD undertook a public consultation on policy options arising from the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy from 1 October 2013 – 17 January 2014.  The consultation document described the agreed Pillar I reforms and explained DARD’s suggested package for implementing these reforms using the various options available to it under the agreement.  The consultation can be viewed at the link below:-
The consultation document was informed by work done by economists from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute using the FAPRI-UK model.  The report on the “Impact of CAP Post-2013 Reforms on Agriculture in the UK” can be viewed at the link below;
During the consultation period DARD met with numerous stakeholders to discuss, explain and develop a common understanding of the implications of CAP Reform for Northern Ireland.  
Following the closure of the Consultation on Policy Options Arising from the Reform of the CAP (Pillar I Direct Payments), the Department is considering responses received in order to inform decisions on the way ahead. The responses received in relation to the consultation can be accessed at the following link:

Pillar II - Rural Development Programme

A consultation on the content of the Department’s new rural development programme ran from July to October 2013.  Work is ongoing to shape this programme.  Further details on the development of the programme can be found at the link below;

CAP Reform Agreement and Legislation

Legislative proposals to reform the CAP were published by the EU Commission on 12 October 2011.  Following intense negotiations, a political agreement on the reform of the CAP was reached on 26 June 2013 between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.  On 16 December 2013 the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers formally adopted the four Basic Regulations for the reformed CAP as well as the Transition Rules for 2014.  This followed the approval of these Regulations by the European Parliament in November 2013.  Links to each of the Basic Regulations and the Transition Rules are given below:

Guidance notes and Q and As

Given the complexity of CAP reform and the impact it will have on farmers, DARD has prepared a series of guidance notes that provide additional information on the reform process.  These guidance notes can be viewed on the links below:
From 2015, entitlements to be issued under the new support regime must be allocated to the person enjoying the decision making power, the benefits and the financial risks in relation to agricultural activity being carried out on the land for which an allocation is requested.  This will have an impact on land let in conacre, therefore DARD has collated this Q and A to guide farmers and landowners:
The CAP Reform Agreement includes a requirement to designate areas of natural constraint (ANC) by 2018, replacing the existing “Less Favoured Areas” designation.  The attached note provides an update on the process of designation to date:

Next Steps

While the key formal legal texts underpinning CAP Reform have been published, work continues to finalise further EU delegated acts and implementing regulations.  Links to these documents will be placed on this page when available.

Additional Information

In December 2013 the European Commission published information on “The Common Agricultural Policy after 2013” which can be accessed at the link below
The above page includes a link a Commission policy paper which sets out a overview of CAP Reform 2014-2020.  The policy paper can be accessed at the link below;
If you have any comments or questions regarding CAP reform, please send them to