What happened when Macra meet the new Minister?

Macra na Feirme National President Seán Finan has led a delegation to meet with the new Minister for Agriculture and his officials at Ag House in Dublin.

Macra na Feirme said it updated the Minister Michael Creed on the programmes it offers young farmers.

These include the Land Mobility Service, which it said continues to grow with over 500 clients and 200 collaborative farming arrangements in place.

It also includes Macra’s Young Farmer Skillnets training programme, which it said is growing steadily and offers further practical training courses to young farmers.

“The agri tax review which Macra na Feirme contributed to, as well as recent tax changes to incentivise long term leasing of land, has helped the mobility of land and we acknowledge the governments work in this regard” Finan said.

The Macra na Feirme delegation also included the Chair and Vice Chair of the Agricultural Affairs Committee James Barber and Thomas Duffy and Derrie Dillon Acting Macra C.E.O.

Finan led the discussions and highlighted the issues which young farmers face at the moment and some of the areas Macra na Feirme will be working on with the Minister during his term of office for the betterment of young farmers and their businesses.

The current income crisis and pressure young farmers face at the moment across the sectors was one of the  main items discussed at the meeting.

According to Macra, other items included were:

● The availability of a National Reserve in 2016 and how Macra is seeking a commitment from the Minister on the provision of a young farmer national reserve every year for the duration of the current CAP.

● Delays in approval for young farmers who applied for TAMS II grants. Macra said it welcomes the confirmation by the Minister that approvals have started to issue this week but highlighted how the delays to approvals is totally unacceptable and could not be allowed to continue.

● Measures to address income volatility and the Macra na Feirme proposal for an income volatility bond were discussed.

● Access to affordable credit for young farmers and availability of European Investment Bank funding. The Minister confirmed that the Department are proceeding with an ex-ante assessment.

● The issues with new entrant parent partnerships not being recognised in both the old CAP and new CAP.

● Macra na Feirme received an update on seeking recognition for the “Forgotten Farmers” as a group with specific disadvantage.

● The resources to Teagasc to provide distance learning and online agricultural courses to young farmers was also discussed.

● Farm safety and Mental Health difficulties which are two huge issues effecting our industry.

“We welcome the commitments by the Government and the significant emphasis on supporting the next generation of farmers in the recently published Programme for Government,” Finan concluded.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the Minister, his officials and the government for the betterment of the livelihoods of young farmers.”