Dairy aid package must have a targeted measure for young farmers – Macra President

It is essential that the new dairy aid package has a similar targeted measure for young farmers like the previous aid package had in March, according to Macra President Sean Finan.

Earlier this week, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan unveiled a new package of measures for the agriculture sector, with particular emphasis on the dairy sector.

The previous milk package contained a young farmer top-up of approximately €1,000 and Finan has said that the new package must have a similar measure for those who are feeling the brunt of the milk price crisis.

Any new measures introduced under the milk package at national level should be co-funded, innovative and young farmer proofed, Finan said following a discussion between Commissioner Hogan and young farmers at the CEJA General Assembly in Brussels this week.

In terms of innovation, Macra believes that ring-fencing a portion of the package for measures will drive efficiency and long term strategic change at farm level such as incentivising farmers to improve grazing infrastructure for grass measuring and soil testing which will pay dividends for farmer’s cost base.

Macra is also calling for action on new and innovative credit arrangements for farmers that properly address the seasonality, volatile nature and the liquidity demands that are specific to farmers.

At the CEJA event in Brussels the Head of Agribusiness and Rural Development at the European Investment Bank (EIB) Dr. Jahn outlined that the EIB are open for business to national banks to make credit lines available for farmers that address their working capital needs on competitive and flexible terms.

The Macra President also called for “greater ambition and innovative approaches to liquidity issues in farming”.

He also added that the EIB funding lines through financial instruments in the Rural Development Program can help deliver this requirement.

“The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine needs to keep this high on the agenda with early implementation essential,” he said.