Announcing Department spending plans for 2013 the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney said he was determined to build on the progress achieved in recent years in developing the agri food sector and to further contribute to the future growth and prosperity that the sector can achieve for Ireland.
The Minister said: â€œI was determined to minimise the impact of the scale of the reduction so that the most important schemes and programmes which the sector relies upon most were protected to the greatest extent possible. I am pleased to say that, through re-orientating and re-scheduling payments, I have managed to fund new schemes and programmes while also reducing the scale of savings, while protecting farm incomes.â€
The expenditure for 2013 of â‚¬1.25 billion is comprised of â‚¬1.057 billion in current expenditure and â‚¬193 million capital expenditure.
This yearâ€™s Budget is consistent with last yearâ€™s Budget in terms of priorities: The protection of incomes for family farms; Support for small farm holdings in disadvantaged areas; Taxation measures to restructure, modernise and promote growth in the agri-food and farming sector; Providing support programmes in line with the targets of Food Harvest 2020, in particular job creation.
â€œThe main taxation measures in the Budget which will benefit the sector are: The retention of the general 25% rate of stock relief for all farmers and 100% stock relief for young trained farmers; A new farm restructuring initiative to allow consolidation of land parcels with the aim of improving the overall efficiency of the combined holdings; An expansion of the foreign earnings deduction scheme which benefits SMEâ€™s, to apply where an individual spends 60 days a year developing opportunities for Ireland in certain key markets; The extension of the farm partnership scheme to sectors other than milk production partnerships, subject to State aid approval.â€
â‚¬25 million continued
investment in Suckler Beef
While the Suckler cow scheme 2008-2012, has now come to an end, it has been invaluable in improving the quality of animals produced from the Suckler herd. The Minister said â€œI was anxious to build on this success and accordingly, I have allocated â‚¬10 million in 2013, financed from unspent Single Farm Payment Funds for a new support programme for Suckler beef farmers to participate in a new Beef Data Programme.â€
Dairy â€“ supporting new
â€œI have provided some â‚¬10 million under TAMS in support of dairy farm modernisation, providing grant assistance of up to 40% for investment in dairy farm facilitiesâ€. In addition, although the dairy discussion group programme has come to an end, â‚¬1million has been provided to allow an opportunity to new entrants to participate in this programme that builds a level of knowledge of best farming practice, tutored by peers.
Sheep Technology Adaption Programme
The Minister has provided â‚¬3 million to a new Sheep Technology Adoption Programme, which has already proven successful in the dairy and beef sectors, with a maximum payment of â‚¬1,000 per participant. Though the Grassland Sheep Scheme was due to expire at the end of this year the Minister said â€œI have decided to extend it for another year and am providing â‚¬14 million for this in 2013.â€
Pig Sector â€“ prioritising
The Minister has already announced a number of amendments to the TAMS Sow Welfare Scheme, and the provision of funding of up to â‚¬3 million over and above the â‚¬13 million allocation under the Rural Development Programme. These adjustments to both the scheme and the provision were designed to provide further assistance to pig farmers engaging in capital works necessary to comply with the new regulations. The revised scheme provides for a grant of up to 40% of cost, with a maximum investment of â‚¬500,000 for the first house, and of â‚¬300,000 for each of up to three more.
Minister Coveney concluded: â€œthe outlook for the agri-food sector remains bright and the sector will continue to contribute strongly to national economic recovery.â€