Macra na Feirme has said that the European Commission has published data which shows that young farmers in Ireland are among the young farmers who receive the least amount of support in the European Union.

The association has been commenting on the recently published EU Commission summary observations on the proposed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Strategic Plans for 27 member states.

Macra president John Keane said: “The EU Commission observes that Ireland is one of only three member states that allocates the minimum amount of 3% of their initial direct payments to young farmers.

“The remaining 22 other member states allocate a higher amount.

“The EU Commission also outlines that 26 members states plan to fund young farmers through support for setting up their farming enterprise, all but one member state has chosen to support young farmers through this route, with the outlier being Ireland.” 

CAP and young farmers

According to Macra, in Ireland’s own observation letter the EU Commission observed a lack of direct support in addressing the issue of access to land for the next generation.  

The Macra president said: “What this demonstrates is a complete lack of interest and support for young people in Ireland who want to enter farming.

“Once again, the Department of Agriculture [Food and the Marine] has failed to support young people.

“All other EU member states are doing more to support generational renewal.” 

Macra has said that the only option left for Irish young farmers and young people thinking of entering farming is to seek intervention from the EU Commissioner to reject the plans for generational renewal and to set a target for the number of young farmers actively farming by 2027.

“This will be a results and performance-based approach in sharp contrast to the status quo which is being proposed by Ireland’s CAP Strategic plan in its current form,” Keane concluded.