A TD is calling for changes to the VAT regime for farm animal vaccinations in order to incentivise farmers to get animals vaccinated.

Cathal Crowe, a Fianna Fáil TD for Clare, was speaking after the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) pre-budget lobby day on Wednesday (September 22) when he said: “Covid-19 has shown us that if something bad comes into our food chain and manifests itself by way of a virus it has huge ramifications economically and health-wise around the world.”

Speaking to Agriland, Crowe said: “I think vaccination of herds is essential and we probably need to start looking at the VAT rate we apply to vaccinations, drenches and so on if we want to see the national herd of cattle and sheep in the best possible health state.

“We maybe need to incentivise farmers to go and get animals vaccinated and some kind of tax rebate would be welcome there I think.”

The Clare TD also noted that, during the Covid-19 pandemic, “we’ve seen people returning to rural Ireland”.

“People who once held down office jobs are maybe considering taking on the running of their mom and dad’s farm again,” Crowe said.

He added: “We need to make entry to farming viable and to keep it sustainable”.

The TD also expressed interest in expanding the use of shed rooftops for the installation of solar panels.

He suggested that revenue generated from rooftop solar panels and rainwater harvesting would offer an opportunity to recoup some taxpayer funding for shed building.

Also speaking to Agriland at the IFA lobby day, Crowe’s Fianna Fáil colleague and former Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen highlighted issues in relation to taxation matters for farmers.

He said that IFA member he had spoken to stressed concerns and aspirations on the transfer and inheritance of land.

One issue Cowen felt strongly about was increases in the price of land, saying “many young farmers are being priced out of the market”.

“That’s something that I’d personally take to my own colleagues with a view to addressing that issue specifically,” the Laois-Offaly TD concluded.