Macra: More of the Same Does Not Work for Young Farmers

Macra na Feirme appeared in front of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday to lay out its plans to address the need for more investment in generational renewal.

Macra na Feirme National President John Keane called for the elimination of the five-year rule in relation to young farmers. The rule limits the ability for young farmers under the age of 40 to access interventions. “All young farmers are deserving of the same level of support up to the age of 40 across all CAP measures” said Keane.

Citing the success of Macra na Feirme’s own Land Mobility Service, Keane reiterated Macra’s position that it is essential that this service is supported by Ireland under the CAP. The Land Mobility Service has facilitated 700 arrangements since its inception covering 55,000 acres and 140 farms in 2020. Keane noted “Driving quantifiable change regarding generational renewal is a must for the next CAP and we firmly believe that not directly supporting the Land Mobility Service will be a major missed opportunity for Irish agriculture.”

Macra na Feirme and CEJA (The European Council of Young Farmers), have successfully lobbied for the inclusion of provisions within the new CAP to enable member states to fund land mobility services across Europe.  Such a service needs CAP and Department of Agriculture support to ensure that the viability of such a valuable tool is retained and expanded.

“Four percent of direct payments must be ringfenced for young farmers in order ensure the viability of farming in Ireland” said Keane, while noting that the recent round of negotiations at the EU level appear to be sliding to three percent of direct payments ringfenced for young farmers.

Macra na Feirme’s position has been clear and consistent over the last number of years. While recognising the commitment by DAFM under current CAP for a provision of two percent young farmers, Macra is calling for greater ambition to be set. Increased funding for young farmers has been shown to generate far more for both the wellbeing of farmers and more widely in rural Ireland as these young farmers are more likely to spend in their local economy through investment.

“It is imperative that four percent of direct payments are ringfenced for young farmers. More of the same is not going to address the issue of generational renewal. It is time to make bold steps to ensure the future of farming, and four percent is the place to start” said Macra na Feirme National President John Keane ahead of today’s meeting.

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