Macra wants farmers to complete a mandatory succession plan at 63

In a bid to encourage the inter-generational transfer of land, Macra na Feirme has brought forward a proposal to make the completion of a succession plan mandatory.

The proposal, which is part of the ‘CAP 2020 Young Farmer Roadmap for Generational Renewal’ policy document, was presented to the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan earlier this week.

It was also presented to members of the European Parliament and the European Council for Young Farmers (CEJA).

The policy paper was developed after a significant national consultation process, which included engagement with approximately 1,000 young farmers who expressed their vision for CAP 2020.

According to Macra, the policy document offers the European Commission a clear inter-generational succession planning model to aid the exit from the industry of older farmers who want to retire.

In the document, the young farmers’ organisation wants it made mandatory for farmers to complete a succession plan at 63 years, with a transitional payment available for farmers between 65 and 70 years.

For farmers over 70, in order to continue to receive a CAP payment, the organisation proposed that they must enter a collaborative farming arrangement.

Macra President Sean Finan, Commissioner Phil Hogan and Thomas Duffy,
Macra President Sean Finan, Commissioner Phil Hogan and Thomas Duffy

Macra na Feirme President Sean Finan said the organisation recognises the contribution that older farmers make to the industry.

This [proposal] recognises the contribution and experience of older farmers within the industry, which can be of tremendous benefit to a younger farmer at an early stage of their career.

“Our proposal also offers a mechanism for the approximate 45% of older farmers who have a desire to retire,” he added.

Finan also said the organisation welcomes the Commission’s focus on Generation Renewal as a key priority for CAP 2020.

“As a young farmer organisation we have focused on Generational Renewal as the key theme of our CAP 2020 policy.

Macra na Feirme’s progressive and visionary policy proposes significant change to encourage generational renewal and to support active farmers of all ages.

The Macra na Feirme CAP 2020 policy also advocates for mandatory start-up aid, to facilitate establishment of young farmers in the industry.

Once established, it proposes a mandatory young farmer top-up for all farmers up to the age of 40 and the abolition of the five-year rule, which will ensure equal treatment and access to measures for all young farmers.

Macra na Feirme’s policy also advocates for a continuously-funded national reserve for farmers with low-value or no payments.