• The 2003 CAP reform: Do decoupled payments affect agricultural production?

      Howley, Peter; Hanrahan, Kevin; Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      The move from coupled payment policy instruments to payments that are decoupled from production have made estimating future trends in agricultural output much more challenging. Using a dynamic multi product partial equilibrium model, the overall aim of this paper is to examine the potential supply inducing effect of decoupled payments. This issue is important in the context of WTO negotiations, and, in particular, in discussions surrounding the appropriateness of decoupled payments being included as a ‘green box’ policy. The results suggest that farm operators, to a large extent, do not treat these payments as fully decoupled and they do in fact maintain a strong supply inducing effect on agricultural production. Findings suggest, however, that this trade distorting effect is less than previously coupled payments.
    • CAP reform post 2013: Examining the equity dimensions of agricultural support.

      Howley, Peter; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission; SSPE-CT-2005-021543 (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      Using a dynamic multi-product partial equilibrium model, this paper firstly examines the potential impact of recent policy changes accruing from the mid term review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2003 on the cattle and sheep sectors in Ireland. Secondly, this paper evaluates the potential impact of the implementation of a CAP budget neutral, common EU flat area payment across all Member States. The European Commission has signalled that it will be evaluating current differences in the level of support between Member States as, for example, in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the Commission’s Health Check proposals the Commission argues that it is “increasingly harder to justify the legitimacy of significant individual differences in the support level which are only based on past support” (CEC, 2008; p.18). This paper demonstrates how there are significant differences in the level of CAP payments per hectare across Member States, as generally farmers in more prosperous Western and Nordic countries receive a much higher level of payment per hectare than farmers in relatively poorer Central and Eastern European countries. In relation to Ireland, similar to most other EU-15 countries, farmers benefit from the current inequitable distribution of payments and the results indicate that any move towards equalising the level of payments per hectare will have a significant negative impact on agricultural production and net trade.
    • Cap reform: implications for Ireland

      Howley, Peter; Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      Increasingly farmers can be viewed as multifunctional providers of a range of commodity and non-commodity goods that are valued by society. Changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) such as the shift towards decoupled payments not only have significant effects on agriculture but also rural areas and society more generally. Given that the CAP is likely to be the most significant driving force for change in the Irish countryside, it will be important to assess the impact of policy changes. Using a dynamic, multi-product, partial equilibrium model, this paper firstly examines the potential impact of recent policy changes accruing from the Mid-Term Review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In addition, this paper highlights additional potential reforms of the CAP and discusses their implications for the Irish agricultural sector.
    • Does the single farm payment affect farmers’ behaviour? A macro and micro analysis

      Howley, Peter; Breen, J.; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Hennessy, Thia; European Commission; QLK5-CT-2000-00473; SSPE-CT-2005-021543 (Institute of Agricultural Management, 2012-10)
      Using Ireland as a case study, the overall aim of this paper is to determine if decoupled payments affect farmers’ behaviour. Using a dynamic, multi product, partial equilibrium model of the EU agricultural sector, this paper first compares levels of production that would be expected if decoupled payments had no impact on farmers’ activity with actual observed outcomes. Second this paper compares cereal and cattle farmers’ profitability prior to decoupling with that observed after the introduction of decoupled payments. The analysis presented here would suggest that decoupled payments do still maintain a significant effect on agricultural activity with farmers using this new form of support to partly subsidise unprofitable farm production.
    • Explaining the non-economic behaviour of farm foresters: The effect of productivist and lifestyle motivations

      Howley, Peter; Hynes, Stephen; O'Donoghue, Cathal (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      Currently rates of planting lag far behind levels that would be expected from a comparison of the returns from farm forestry with competing agricultural alternatives. Previous research has focused on the role of economic factors such as government subsidies, returns from competing agricultural alternatives and structural farm factors in explaining the decision to afforest. By examining the role of farming attitudes and motivations, the aim of this paper is to provide a framework for better understanding farmers’ behaviour in relation to the decision to enter into forestry. The results provide rare quantitative evidence that strong lifestyle and productivist motivations significantly affect farmers’ behaviour. Environmental values and perceptions regarding the extent to which forestry is seen as a component of a natural landscape were two further factors found to affect the probability of participation. We conclude that the design of policies aimed at encouraging changes in farm activities ought to be guided by a better understanding of the motivations and attitudes of farm operators.
    • Factors affecting the level of farm indebtedness: the role of farming attitudes

      Howley, Peter; Dillon, Emma (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      Using a nationally representative survey of farm operators in Ireland, this paper aims to provide a framework for better understanding the characteristics that influence the degree of indebtedness on farm businesses. This paper derives explanatory variables (based on a factor analysis of respondents mean ratings of 13 multiple value items) representing 3 different farming attitudes. An ordered logit model is then formulated to examine the effect of farming attitudes as well as personal characteristics and farm structural variables on the degree of indebtedness. Personal characteristics of the farmer such as age and education as well as farm structural variables such as farm size and farm system were all found to have a statistically significant impact. The presence of decoupled farm payments was also found to affect the degree of indebtedness. The study identified two distinct farming attitudes which were found to have important but opposite effects. These were attitudes strongly orientated to business related objectives which was positively associated with having farming debts and secondly positive attitudes relating to the benefits of farm relative to non-farm work which was negatively associated with the degree of indebtedness. Past research has focused on the effect of socio-demographic characteristics and farm structural variables in examining differences in farm indebtedness. This study extends this literature by specifically examining the role of farming attitudes. Obtaining a deeper understanding of the factors that affect the level of farming debt will be important as the degree of indebtedness has been found to affect farmers’ management decisions. Furthermore, outside of explaining farm credit use, farming attitudes and motivations may have an important impact on farmers’ behaviour in relation to a variety of farm activities.
    • Landscape aesthetics: Assessing the general publics’ rural landscape preferences

      Howley, Peter (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2011)
      The central aim of this study was to gain greater insights into the factors that affect individuals’ preferences for a variety of landscape settings. To achieve this aim, this paper derived dependent variables (based on a factor analysis of respondents mean ratings of 47 landscape images) representing 5 different landscape categories. These variables were then utilized in separate OLS regression models to examine the effect of personal characteristics, residential location and environmental value orientations on landscape preferences. First in terms of visual amenity the results suggest that the general public have the strongest preference for landscapes with water related features as its dominant attribute which was followed by cultural landscapes. Second the results also demonstrate how there is significant heterogeneity in landscape preferences as both personal characteristics and environmental value orientations were found to strongly influence preferences for all the landscape types examined. Moreover the effect of these variables often differed significantly across the various landscape groupings. In terms of land use policy, given the diversity of preferences a one size fits all approach will not meet the general publics’ needs and desires.
    • Public access to the countryside: An exploration of the costs and benefits of farmland walking trails

      Howley, Peter; Doherty, Edel; Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; green, stuart; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      To date, estimates of individuals’ willingness to pay (WTP) for access to the countryside have typically been on sites of special interest such as developed walking routes, public rights of way in specific areas, national parks and forests (see Lockwood and Tracy, 1995; Bennett and Tranter, 1997; Crabtree and MacDonald, 1997; Liston-Heyes and Heyes, 1999; Garrod et al., 1998; Bennett et al., 2003; Buckley et al., 2009; Morris et al., 2009). There has been little if any attempt to derive estimates of individuals’ WTP for the provision of walking trails in the wider countryside at a national level. The present study aims to build on previous work by examining the demand for particular types of walking trails through a nationally representative survey of the Irish population. One further advantage of this research is that apart from valuing walking activities in a generic sense this paper investigates what types of investment in facilities associated with walking trails generate the greatest welfare gains. Furthermore, using a nationally representative survey of the farming population this paper examines farmers’ willingness to participate in a hypothetical walking scheme whereby the general public will be allowed access to specific trails. First by way of background this paper will discuss the situation in relation to access rights to the countryside across a number of countries. Second this paper will outline the research approach which is followed with a discussion of the empirical results. Finally this paper will conclude with a discussion of the papers main findings and their implications for the provision of public access to the countryside.
    • The role of non-pecuniary benefits in the labour allocation decision of farmers.

      Howley, Peter; Dillon, Emma; Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      Previous research has primarily focused on the impact of economic variables in explaining the off farm labour allocation decisions of principal farm operators. This study finds attitudes regarding the non-pecuniary benefits associated with the farming lifestyle also significantly affect behaviour by acting as a strong disincentive to farmers towards working off farm. This may suggest that even if economic returns are greater in the offfarm labour market, farmers may not supply additional labour off farm. We also employed separate models of off-farm labour market participation and off-farm labour supply and found certain variables such as a farm operator’s age and the level of diversification undergone by the farm business affect off farm labour market participation and hours supplied differently.
    • Willingness to Pay For Achieving Good Status Across Rivers in the Republic of Ireland

      Buckley, Cathal; Howley, Peter; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Kilgarriff, Paul; Environmental Protection Agency (The Economic and Social Review, 2016-09-26)
      The Water Framework Directive mandates EU Member States to achieve good status across all surface waters. Derogations from this have to be proven based on infeasibility or disproportionate cost. This study explores public preference for water quality objectives and assesses willingness to pay (WTP) for achieving good status across all rivers in the Republic of Ireland using contingent valuation. Mean WTP for achieving full good status across rivers was estimated at €19 per respondent per annum. WTP was influenced by social class, subjective perceptions relating to household financial status, education, recreational use, environmental values and river basin district.