Macra urges Pillar II funding for young farmers as National Reserve 2021 confirmed

Macra na Feirme is calling for increased supports for young farmers through Pillar II of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) due to a cut in Pillar I funds.

While the National Reserve has been provisionally confirmed for 2021 (subject to ministerial approval), there will be a 2.05% cut to all Pillar I payments this year, including the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and the Young Farmers Scheme.

Represeantives of Macra had a meeting with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today (Friday, January 15), in which they say they were told that the National Reserve will be funded by a projected unused allocation under the Young Farmers Scheme, rather than a linear cut to the BPS.

This is another example of farmers being asked to deliver yet more with less CAP supports.

“Many young farmers are being cut on the double, as they are coming to the end of their first five years in farming and will lose out this year on the Young Farmers Scheme,” Macra president Thomas Duffy highlighted.

Macra says that – according to the department’s projections – €6 million will be unused in the Young Farmer Scheme as a result of the ‘five-year rule’ being applied this year. It is these monies that will be instead put towards the National Reserve.

“The decision to fund the National Reserve and keep this money in the area of generational renewal is welcome. However, the overall allocation to young farmers is still down and this must be matched by increased supports in Pillar II,” Duffy insisted.

Among these potential Pillar II measures, Macra is calling for a new investment limit for the transitionary arrangements under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS).