Letter to the editor: ‘The forgotten farmers were promised the sun, moon and stars, but…’

The last time around, in the previous Programme for Government, the ‘forgotten farmers’ were promised the sun, moon and stars, but what happened? Nothing.

Now we eventually have a Minister for Agriculture that might last a few weeks – hopefully. Will our situation be dealt with? We hope that – this time – it’s not just hot air blowing around…as happened before with the previous government.

There is a group of us – old ‘young farmers’ for want of a better description – that got no Installation Aid [Young Farmer’s Installation Scheme] and no top-ups on our entitlements. Now that the TAMS [Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes] is coming to an end, we did not qualify for the 60% grant either, even though we are all under 40 years-of-age.

The government says that it wants to give young farmers the best start, so let’s do it.

To give us a fair crack of the whip, we should get a top-up on all of our entitlements – like new entrants – of at least €80 per entitlement for a period of five years.

‘Young farmers’

What about TAMS? When a new TAMS commences, we should be treated the same as the ‘young farmers’ and get the young farmer top-up too.

This would bring fairness. It would help our cause – as old ‘young farmers’. We need this; farm-gate prices in some sectors of agriculture are below the cost of production.

Right now, we need all the help we can get – not just from the EU but from our own government too.

From Neilus O’Connor, Co. Kerry