Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Schemes

Photo of James O'ConnorJames O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

135. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the way a dairy farmer retirement scheme could pave the way for more young farmers getting involved in the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16966/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The challenge of generational renewal is widely recognised both at national and EU level. There are challenges both for younger farmers becoming established and older farmers having concerns about future income, taxation, the suitability of collaborators and the retirement process itself.

The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) cites generational renewal as one of its nine key objectives, while it is also prominent in Food Vision 2030, the new stakeholder-led strategy for the agri-food sector. Food Vision proposes a number of actions, including maintaining the strong level of current support; the promotion of land mobility and succession planning; and increased education & promotion of the diversity of careers in the agri-food sector. This reflects the need for skilled and innovative young farmers to respond to societal demands for quality food and environmental public goods. Supporting younger and older farmers therefore remains a key policy objective.

Given this, as the Deputy may be aware, there are a range of measures in place at present – both in the existing CAP and at national level – that support younger farmers and facilitate generational renewal. Under the current CAP, this includes the Young Farmers Scheme under the current CAP, the National Reserve, the TAMS II Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme and support to establish Collaborative Farming arrangements. Further assistance is available from national supports including through taxation measures such as the Agricultural Relief from Capital Acquisitions Tax, Stamp Duty exemptions, Stock Relief and Long-Term Leasing Relief, as well as the availability of tax credits via the Succession Farm Partnerships. Such interventions, which are available to all sectors including dairy, provide vital supports to young farmers in setting up their enterprises and older farmers wishing to retire.

Ireland’s draft CAP Strategic Plan proposals reaffirm our commitment to generational renewal, with a number of proposals currently under review by the European Commission. This includes a new initiative to support advice for older farmers on succession and retirement options.

I recently established the Food Vision Dairy Group, which brings together key stakeholders to advance the actions for the dairy sector identified in the strategy, with the action “produce a detailed plan by Q2 2022 to manage the sustainable environmental footprint of the dairy sector” as a priority. I expect that an interim report from the Group will be submitted to me shortly.

I want to ensure that the dairy and wider agri-food sector remain strong and sustainable into the future, and will continue to engage with stakeholders to find the best approaches to support young farmers to ensure a bright future for the sector.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.