Young farmer focus in CAP proposals lauded

The specific focus on young farmers in the CAP legislative proposals published by the European Commission on Friday (June 1) has been welcomed by Macra na Feirme.

Announcing the proposals, European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan said that countries must set aside at least 2% of their direct payment allocation to assist young farmers starting out in the industry.

Also Read: CAP tables ‘solid’ payment support to ‘set-up’ young farmers

In addition to this, there will also be financial support for rural development and different measures to facilitate access to land and land transfers.

Speaking after the announcement, Macra na Feirme national president James Healy said: “Macra na Feirme presented a comprehensive document to Commissioner Hogan in early 2017 following a consultation of 1,000 Irish young farmers and the organisation is satisfied that there is scope for many of these proposals in the Commission’s legislation.

“In future, addressing the needs of young farmers and making generational renewal a reality can be achieved by ensuring all CAP measures are young-farmer-proofed.

This – combined with domestic policy in areas of national funding and taxation – is essential to make generational renewal a success.

Macra na Feirme has also welcomed the increased funding available at farmer-level for the young farmer start-up package (formally Installation Aid) in the Rural Development Programme.

However, the rural youth organisation added that Ireland is one of only around four countries that don’t implement a business start-up package for young farmers.

Continuing, Healy said: “While Ireland utilises a number of measures to support young farmers it is essential that we make effective use of the full range of policy tools and schemes available at EU-level to continue this support.”

The Macra na Feirme national president said he looks forward to engaging with the commission, MEPs and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to further address the needs of young farmers and ensure they are a key priority.

The organisation looks forward to discussing the legislative proposals in greater detail over the coming weeks.