Tomorrow will see Macra na Feírme hosting its annual meeting in Kilkenny. The event takes place against the ever quickening pace of the CAP reform implementation process in Ireland. However, Macra’s  agri affairs manager Derrie Dillon has told Agriland that the organisation remains committed to getting the best possible deal for young farmers from the new CAP support measures.

“We met Simon Coveney on these matters recently and this will be followed up by another get-together with the Farm Minister before the end of this month,” he said. “As an organisation, we took the lead some time ago in requesting Pillar 1 support for young farmers in this country. At our upcoming meeting with the Minister we will be discussing how the Young Farmers’ Top-Up measures and the proposed National Reserve can be best structured to meet the needs of young farmers in this country.”

The Macra representative went on to point out that a funding budget of €24 million per annum had been allocated for the new top-up measures.

“We remain concerned that all of this money may not be used up, given the details of the scheme currently on the table from the Minister.

“On offer is a €60 per hectare additional payment, which can be drawn down on up to 50 hectares per farm business.”

On the subject of defining a farm partnership, Derrie Dillon confirmed that all roads lead back to the name of a young person being added to the ownership of the business herd number – and when this happened.

“As we understand it, this step should comply with the EU requirement for the top up measures, which refers to the establishment of a controlling business interest being established by applicant young farmers,” he added.

“Retrospective support will be available for partnerships established after 2011. But this will operate on a count back basis only. For example, partnerships formed in 2011 will only be eligible to receive a top up for one year, under the new measures. However, partnerships formed in 2015 will be eligible for the full five years of the new scheme.”

Derrie Dillon concluded: “We are fully aware that young farmers, who entered into a farm partnership arrangement before 2011 will not be eligible for the new top-up measures. Again, this goes back to the issue of when their names were added to the ownership of the business herd number.

“In general terms Macra believes that the new CAP measures will facilitate earlier succession within family farm businesses. And this represents a very positive development for agriculture as a whole in Ireland.”