The Minister for Agriculture has ‘missed an opportunity’ to effect real change for young farmers, according to their representative body.
As Minister Coveney stopped short of delivering a full package of measures for young farmers in the Rural Development Programme, Macra National President, Kieran O’Dowd, said it was a missed opportunity not to implement the full package of options available to effect real change and guarantee generational renewal.
While welcoming the European mandatory young farmer 25% top up in pillar 1, drawing down the full 2% available will not be possible as it would require an estimated 12,000 young farmers to utilise the 2%.
The Macra President has called for the unused funds in the young farmer top up measure to be ring fenced to support young farmers in other areas of activity.
Mr. O’Dowd also welcomed the 60% targeted young farmer capital investment scheme on certain capital investment for start up young farmers, however he believed this must be extended to all young trained farmers.
The core issue for Macra na Feirme is that Pillar 2 still hasn’t fully addressed the key obstacles for young farmers starting up, which in order of priority are: transfer costs and conveyance, cost of stocking and land improvement.
The importance of introducing an Installation Aid measure and following best practice in European agriculture for supporting young farmers has been ignored by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.
“The overall package for farmers is positive but the measures for young farmers are quite restrictive and therefore will be limited in their impact. This amounts to a missed opportunity for young farmers”, Kieran O’Dowd said.