Macra has stated that it would push back against stakeholders in the Food Vision Dairy Group if they agreed to close pathways into farming for young people.

Speaking to Agriland, Macra president John Keane said it will stay involved in the process as the group continues to hammer out the final details of its climate recommendations report for the agricultural industry.

His comments come following the latest meeting of the group last Friday (October 14).

“We understand that the final report is due to be agreed in the near future and we’ll obviously continue to push our case forward for young farmers.

“It would be unthinkable from our side of things that the stakeholders would agree to close the doors on pathways for young people to enter into any sector, not just dairy,” he said.

Keane added that all avenues into all sectors must be left open and more support is needed.

“We only have 5% of the active farming population under the age of 35 now so it wouldn’t make sense to start closing off doors and closing off opportunities to young people with that sort of a figure,” he said.

Other sources have indicated that the Food Vision Dairy Group is expected to come to an agreement on its recommendations report and sign off on it within the coming week.

The report being discussed contains 17 recommended actions that could help the dairy sector to achieve the agricultural and land use targets laid out in Climate Action Plan 2021.

It is understood by Agriland, that the group has agreed on the majority of these short, medium and long-term actions, however the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and stakeholders have yet to finalise three of them.

One of the recommendations that was included in the group’s draft report is a possible voluntary retirement or “exit scheme” for the dairy sector. This was included in the report as a possible medium-term action, however no further details were on how such a scheme would operate and who it would be made available to.

Speaking about Macra’s stance on this document, Keane said:

“I would be hopeful that the outcome of the report could create pathways to generation renewal and I’d be very disappointed if it closed any doors for young people to access farming.”