Fine Gael senator Tim Lombard has called on the government to “stand up and back” young, trained farmers.
He believes that we must ensure that young farmers get involved in the sector and that they will “drive forward our economy and feed the world”.
During a Seanad debate on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021, he discussed young farmers’ roles in ensuring the future viability of the agri-food sector.
Tombard stressed that the agricultural industry has “never been under so much pressure”.
The senator pointed to the Climate Action Plan, a Nitrates Action Programme, and the CAP reform.
He said that these policies, coupled with input product prices “going through the roof”, that the farming community have never felt “so berated”.
Furthermore, the senator slammed Ciaran Cuffe’s move to pen a letter to banking chiefs. It is understood that in the letter, the Green MEP expressed concern over banks’ lending policies involving young farmers.
The senator stressed: “We are trying to generate a cohort of young people to get involved in farming, but a Green Party MEP has lambasted them when speaking about investment.”
“It is a major issue for the industry and this government. If this MEP had such views on investment, why did he not say people in urban areas should not get motor loans?”
“Instead, he attacked the rural agricultural community, and it makes no sense.”
Furthermore, Lombard stated that Ireland produces enough food in this country for 50 million people. He believes a statement of this nature is “totally disrespectful and ill-informed”.
On the back of this, he called on the government to issue a statement, indicating it will support young farmers and their views.
He went on to say that “we have the best young farmers in the world”. “Also, they are the best-trained young farmers in the world.”
“They do not go to agricultural college anymore; they go to university. We have farmers out there with PhDs because that is the standard of our farming community.”
“We need to dispel the fear that comes from a misinformed MEP who is just trying to play politics with this matter and damage rural Ireland in the process,” he added.
“The farming community is facing a financial crisis. We need the government to stand up and say enough is enough.”
“We need to support the farming community. It is under enough pressure as it is,” he concluded.