Funding for a new food ombudsman, new agri-environmental schemes and supports for food exports due to Brexit in Budget 2021 has been welcomed by Macra na Feirme.

The young farmers’ and rural youth organisation lauded the increase of €179 million announced for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s budget next year, as announced by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath.

Commenting on the increased funding allocation, Macra na Feirme president Thomas Duffy said: “This budget makes an important commitment to the future of agriculture that only young farmers can deliver on.”

Supports for agriculture which will be most affected in the case of a no-deal Brexit scenario will disadvantage young farmers the most as they are the most exposed due to the need for investment, he added.

Macra na Feirme has also supported calls for a Food Ombudsman which has a remit beyond that which was laid out by the Unfair Trading Practices Directive.

Macra na Feirme said it also lobbied for an “innovative approach such as results-based schemes” to the next generation of agri-environmental measures to be trialled under the transitional period of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

“We look forward to engaging with the department on ambitious new environmental schemes that will deliver for young farmers and those in difficult areas to farm,” Duffy concluded.