The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has clarified the official definition of a ‘forgotten farmer’.
The minister relayed the information to Cavan-Monaghan-based Sinn Fein TD, Matt Carthy, who asked the minister to confirm the number of farmers thought to comprise the category known as ‘the forgotten farmers’.
A Forgotten Farmer
In a statement, the minister explained that ‘forgotten farmer’ is a term used to describe a group of farmers who:
- Had set up their agricultural holdings before 2008;
- Were under 40 in 2015;
- Held low-value payment entitlements;
- Ineligible for young farmer supports under the CAP from 2015.
The minister explained: “As the purpose of the young farmer supports from 2015 was to provide support to farmers in the early years following the establishment of an agricultural holding, the Forgotten Farmer group did not meet the eligibility requirements.”
“The most recent analysis on the basis of records available to my department shows some 3,500 farmers in this group,” he added.
In recent weeks, the minister reaffirmed his commitment to support the group of ‘forgotten farmers’ in the next CAP.
He said he is “committed” to helping this cohort of farmers and will bring forward proposals “as soon as possible”.
He pointed to the Programme for Government ‘Our Shared Future’, which contains a commitment to seek to “resolve the issue of support for the category of farmers known as forgotten farmers”.
“I have asked officials in my department to examine options to address the issue of forgotten farmers both through the next CAP and other measures to support this group.”
“Many of these farmers find themselves in this situation through no fault of their own. We will work with them to address this issue.”
He said ‘forgotten farmers’ are a combination of farmers who lost out following the government’s removal of young farmer supports (Installation Aid) due to cuts in public expenditure.
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