Macra President encourages EU Trilogues to deliver for young Farmers

Macra President encourages EU Trilogues to deliver for young Farmers

As the EU Trilogues talks continue on the new CAP strategy, Macra na Feirme National President John Keane has (this evening, Thursday, May 27th) reminded Minister Charlie McConalogue, T.D of the critical supports needed for young farmers arising from any EU agreement.

As the talks continue, indications are that 3% of direct payments will be ringfenced for young farmers, a compromise on the Europeans Commission and European Parliament’s proposals.

“I welcome the engagement and update on the EU CAP talks from Minister McConalogue earlier this evening.  The discussion with the Minister focused on the need for supports for young farmers and I encouraged the Minister to ensure that there was collective ambition within the Trilogues to deliver for young farmers”  said Macra na Feirme National President John Keane.

“It is disappointing to see that only 3% of payments will go towards young farmers. Our ask, supporting that of CEJA, the European Council of Young Farmers, was for the ringfencing of 4% of payments to go to young farmers, these funds are fundamental for driving generational renewal.  Indications of an agreement emerging on 3% of direct payments does not limited the national exchequer and Department of Agriculture from providing further funding to support young farmers and generational renewal.  We must view a 3% ringfence of payments as the floor-level payments to young farmers. This cannot be the ceiling of payments to young farmers and there can be no back-sliding of payments to young farmers under the rural development programme.  Our ambition must be for significantly more supports to ensure viability for young farmers and leap-frog slow progress to date in generational renewal” said Macra na Feirme National President John Keane.

There are indications emerging from the talks, that there may be a consensus building on the need for higher investment supports for young farmers.  “If this is agreed, it will enable our own Department of Agriculture to increase supports levels for young farmers on schemes such as TAMS, etc.  Macra na Feirme would welcome any increase over the existing 60% investment support levels for young farmers.  This recognises the difficulties young farmers face in accessing capital for on-farm investment and is a positive more to redress that issue” added Macra na Feirme President John Keane.

Macra na Feirme does welcome however the suggestion that schemes could go beyond the five-year rule. The abolishment of the five-year rule has been a long standing ask of Macra na Feirme. The Macra na Feirme President, John Keane also encouraged Minister McConalogue to resist calls in the Triogues talks for higher levels of convergence.