Wednesday, 3 June 2015

I'm a poor, poor farmer...

Cormac O'Grada: The website that is causing the IFA so much grief is both interesting and, from an equity standpoint, very disturbing.  Analysing the data properly would take some time, but here are a few extracts.

Single Payments in 2014: Numbers and Amounts

In 2014, 3,632 farmers in ‘Meath of the pastures’ received a total of €59.1 million in single income payments, or an average of €16,300 per farmer, while 11,658 farmers in ‘Mayo God help us’ received an average of only €8,800.

So the system is extremely regressive: the poorer you are the less you get.  More interestingly, perhaps, 191 Meath farmers were paid over €50,000 each, while only 20 farmers in Mayo were paid over that sum. [That is excluding payments associated with Leader schemes].   The Meath single payments in 2014 included three of over €200,000.

The accompanying figures compare the distributions of payments in two relatively well-off counties (Meath and Kilkenny) and in two poorer counties (Mayo and Donegal).  Note the high proportions of farmers in the rich counties receiving huge payments for doing nothing.

Cormac O'Grada is Professor of Economics at University College Dublin

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