Revenue report highlights ‘the struggle of generational renewal’ – IFA

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said that a recent report by Revenue highlights “the struggle of generational renewal”.

The IFA has identified a number of key priorities when it comes to farm business, following the recent publication of ‘The Farming Sector in Ireland: A Profile from Revenue Data’ by Revenue.

The report provides a snapshot of farm incomes, farmer age profiles, the uptake of tax reliefs and the incidence of farm transfers and succession.

The IFA Farm Business chair Rose Mary McDonagh said that support for land transfer is “crucial for generational renewal”.

The report highlights the struggle of generational renewal. 37% of farmers are aged over 60, while only 24% of farmers are under 40.

“However, the report also points out the value that tax reliefs provide to incentivise transfer and succession.”

McDonagh said agriculture is a “low-margin, highly capital-intensive business” which requires investment in its primary asset – land, and the reliefs are “imperative for greater land mobility and to encourage land transfer”.

“Along with reliefs under the stamp duty code and young trained farmer reliefs, they are vital to the sustainability and viability of the agricultural sector.

“Moreover, they align with one of the nine objectives of the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] – generational renewal.”

‘Average farm incomes below the industrial average’

Looking at the report, McDonagh pointed out:

“The Succession Farm Partnership Credit was introduced in 2017 and there was a 66% increase in the number of those who availed of the relief in 2018.

“In 2019, consanguinity relief from stamp duty on non-residential transfers was worth, on average, €17,009 per claimant. In addition, there has been a 58% rise in the number of young trained farmers claiming relief from stamp duty between 2013 and 2019.”

McDonagh emphasised the “importance and critical nature” of these reliefs to the agricultural sector in order to encourage farm transfer.

At farm level, average farming income in 2018 was €20,886 and average gross income was €47,029.

“The report underlines that average farm incomes are below the industrial average and must be supplemented with off-farm employment.”

Farmers in Leitrim earn lowest farm income in Ireland

AgriLand recently reported that, according to Revenue, farmers in Co. Leitrim earn the lowest farm income in Ireland. This is the lowest farm income of any county since 2016.

The report shows that farmers in Co. Leitrim earn, on average, €8,794 from farm income (not including off-farm income and spousal income). This figure, which is based on 2018 earnings, is lower than that of 2017 – which was €10,489.

Meanwhile, farmers from Co. Dublin earn the highest farm income in the country, averaging at €33,596 for 2018. This figure is slightly lower than that of the previous year – €34,978. Kilkenny farmers earn the second highest income at €31,154.

However, in Co. Leitrim, with spousal and off-farm incomes added, the gross income average is significantly higher – €41,365. Dublin has the highest gross income average of €56,374.

The report also showed that the 51-60 age cohort of those earning a farm income was the highest, at €28,494. The lowest age cohort was over 90 years-of-age.