Opinion

Budget to benefit farmers with expansion on their minds

It seems that few budgets contain any real surprises these days, with the leaks and whisperings in the run up to the official announcement, it’s really just a case of detail that has to be delivered on the day. And Budget 2015 was no different.

The Minister himself had said that a significant number of tax measures would be announced in the budget to help encourage more long-term leasing of land as well as significant tax measures. And he delivered. Budget 2015 provides no less than 12 measures agri-taxation measures and a host of other measures designed to help those looking to expand and grow gain easier access to land.

The moves towards discouraging conacre are also to be welcomed. Such short-term leasing benefits no one with ambition looking to plan their future. The tax incentives for those with land to lease are a significant step towards encouraging more to enter long-term leasing situations. The measures are also designed to allow those currently renting by conacre to retire and avail of retirement tax relief.

The introduction of a €100 payment for suckler farmers for the first 10 animals will be part of a €74m spend in the beef sector next year. The beef genomics scheme will see 296,000 animals quality for the payment, which should help the smaller suckler farmer.

But one of the most important introductions the Minister announced was the €12m fund to increase and promote farm safety. While €12m is not a huge amount of money, it’s a step in the right direction and gives farmers a once-off opportunity to avail of 40% funding for farm safety measures. Unwilling to put a figure on how many lives can be saved, the obvious goal is a farm death rate of zero and hopefully farmers will follow the money and ensure all possible safety precautions are in place on their farms.

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