Farm contractors support up to 10,000 rural jobs

Farm contractors operating in Ireland support up to 10,000 jobs in rural areas, the Chairman of the Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland (FCI), Richie White has said.

Speaking at the Association’s conference in Portlaoise this evening, the Tipperary-based contractor said the Government often forgets about the important role contractors play in rural communities.

White said contractors use in the region of 500m litres of diesel on an annual basis, while they bale around 5m bales using about 20,000 tractors.

“Contractors need to get recognition going forward as it is a big industry.”

Looking to the future, White also said that the equipment used by Irish contractors is likely to get more specialised.

The Chairman of the Association, which was established in 2012, also highlighted some of the work the group undertook in 2015.

Such steps included submissions to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed and the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan.

Issues raised included problems with tachograph and transport, issues with hedge cutting and road safety and regulations.

The Association was instrumental in the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan’s decision to extend the scheme of accelerated capital allowances for investment in energy efficient equipment back in October 2016.

The move implements the final recommendation of the agritax review and it will help businesses in the farming sector, as it essentially allows them to invest in energy efficient equipment and to receive full allowances in the first year.

The Tipperary-based contractor added that the FCI has been in touch with Teagasc to make it aware that it shouldn’t encourage farmers to delay paying contractors bills, as leaving the contractor as the banker is not acceptable.

On the European front, he said that plans to introduce mandatory ABS breaking systems by the European Commission on tractors rated 40-60km/h will not work.