Macra na Feirme (Macra) members met with Green Party MEP, Ciarán Cuffe today (January 11) in relation to the letter he wrote to banks in late 2021 regarding their policies on extending credit to young farmers.

The meeting, which took place virtually, was described by Macra national president, John Keane, as “constructive and positive” and Macra has accepted an apology on the matter from the MEP.

During the virtual interaction, a number of Macra members gave an overview of their farm enterprises, impressing upon the MEP the importance of access to credit in developing and improving their businesses.

They highlighted how essential financial support is to be able to implement environmentally friendly practices such as:

  • Grazing infrastructure development;
  • Improved slurry storage facilities;
  • Investments in implementing best advice based on the MACC curve such as low emissions slurry spreading (LESS) equipment, among others.

The Macra president outlined that for the past number of decades, access to credit has consistently been highlighted by young farmers as a key barrier to entering farming.

“Our organisation has consistently highlighted the lack of support for young farmers in addressing the access to credit issue.

“The statement by MEP Cuffe in his letter to single out young farmers has not helped in addressing the constant issue of access to credit,” said Keane.

The Macra president asked MEP Cuffe to send a letter to the banks once more to clarify his position.

Macra na Feirme accepts MEP Cuffe’s apology on the matter,” he said.

“This meeting was constructive and positive with the overall message that we must all work together on these matters going forward,” Keane added.