More funding needs to be provided for young farmers under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

The organisation is proposing, in its submission as part of the public consultation on the CAP Strategic Plan (CSP), a 25% top-up for young farmers on coupled suckler and ewe premiums.

The ICSA has highlighted that flexibility is present under EU rules to allow 13% for coupled payments under Pillar I, which is why the association has put forward its proposal for coupled suckler and ewe premiums, capped at 40 suckler cows and 250 ewes.

At the same time, ICSA said that it wants to help older farmers to ‘transition’ away from suckler farming and calving cows – an enterprise which is difficult for older or ageing farmers.

It is proposing an early retirement scheme as part of the transition and €100/suckler cow for five years for a retirement scheme for farmers aged over 55.

ICSA has outlined its vision for CAP funding in the video below.

ICSA plan for environmental sustainability

The ICSA said that the proposals it is putting forward for the CSP, meet the ‘green agenda’ in terms of environmental sustainability.

It includes an agri-environment scheme worth €15,000 to a farmer, comprising a single menu-based scheme with 38,000 participating farmers.

General secretary of the ICSA, Eddie Punch, said the scheme would be for “those farmers who go the extra mile, delivering on the biodiversity agenda, helping the climate change targets and making rural Ireland a more attractive landscape.”

However, Punch emphasised that farmers can’t become more environmentally aware in their operations, unless it is economically sustainable.