The CAP budget the Taoiseach and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, announced yesterday (Wednesday) is short-changing young farmers €310 million.
That is according to Macra na Feirme, who have questioned the level of funding, which stands at €9.8b.
The government agreed an exchequer contribution of €2.30bn for the CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027.
Reacting to the announcement, Macra na Feirme national president, John Keane, said:
“We have consistently voiced the need to support young farmers as they begin their farming careers.”
He said the funds are missing:
- A start-up business grant scheme for young farmers;
- Retirement scheme;
- Funding for a land mobility service.
“The cost of providing these valuable incentives to support generational change and encourage new farmers to start farming is approximately €310m over the next five years.”
Keane described young farmers as “real” environmentalists. He said the current generation and indeed the next generation of young farmers are more educated, informed and knowledgeable on best environmental practices.
“As young farmers, we are custodians of the local environment. Making farming attractive and encouraging more young people into the industry through generational renewal initiatives like retirement schemes and a land mobility service are good for our natural environment, climate change and biodiversity,” added Keane.
He stressed encouraging young people to take up farming as a career is vital for the future of our overall agri-sector. “Let’s be clear; young farmers are not climate deniers.”
“We understand the challenges ahead. Yesterday, young farmers needed the Taoiseach and Minister for Agriculture to be bold, be ambitious and most importantly, be supportive of the next generation.”
He said “significant” funds were moved into the Rural Development programme for environmental measures in particular, which is welcome.”
However, he warned, without young farmers entering the industry with supports like start-up business grants, there is a “real risk” that there will not be enough young farmers to avail of these positive agri-environment schemes.”
The Macra na Feirme president concluded his remarks with one simple question: “Minister and An Taoiseach, where is the missing €310m for the next generation of young farmers?”