The Land Mobility Service welcomes announcement of new Succession Planning Advice Grant Scheme

The Land Mobility Service welcomes announcement of new Succession Planning Advice Grant Scheme

The timing of the Succession Planning Advice Grant Scheme (SPAG) is opportune. This is a positive initiative by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in relation to access to land and succession planning. The Land Mobility Service since its inception has seen the increasing demand for relevant, accurate and independent advice to be provided to landowners and farm families.

The grant scheme of up to €1500 towards the provision of advice and knowledge to farmers over the age of 60, is a great opportunity for farm families to be armoured with the knowledge and options to make informed decisions and plans.

There is increasing uncertainty in farming at present; continued low margins in some sectors, production constraints in others, and non-farming competition for land. Despite all this, opportunities must be allowed to exist for skilled young trainee farmers who want to farm, together with viable and sustainable options for older farmers who want to step back.

In order for any industry, including agriculture to thrive, meet modern environmental, security and technology challenges, it needs young, skilled and innovative people. There is clear evidence that young people in farming add to local communities and better adopt new and environmental technologies. Coupled with this, recent surveys indicate that about one third of farmers want to retire. Many cannot progress this because of lack of knowledge and fear. This fear can be income security, impact on entitlements and scheme payments, tax, fear for land care and what will they themselves do if a successor is found – i.e., post-retirement or stepping back options.

The Land Mobility Service has the experience, knowledge, and expertise to provide relevant and accurate Information and explain options including how this works in reality. There is usually a range of viable options. Farm families and landowners cannot plan without first having proper information.

The Land Mobility Service is an approved provider under this grant scheme. The service is the leading independent provider of succession planning advice and facilitator of farm arrangements. In order to support future knowledge transfer, the service will be hosting information events nationwide in conjunction with other professionals, farm organisations and supporting co-ops.

Options for landowners and opportunities for young farmers is key to successful generational renewal. There are challenges, but options do exist, making it all the more important to be armed with proper relevant information. Currently the very real risk exists of farmers and landowners being encouraged into unsustainable overpriced arrangements.

Past experience has shown this to be a recipe for disaster, evidence already exists of problems with recent arrangements. Such problems lead to strife, non-payment, and poor land care. These pressures are also making things difficult for genuine young farmers, realism and sustainability need to prevail.

The Land Mobility Service is a Macra initiative supported by farm stakeholders nationwide. Austin Finn a B Ag and Chartered Accountant together with Patrick Brady also a B Ag and Farm Planner are the lead providers of succession planning advice. Queries can be directed to 086 0357499 / 086 0404002