IFA President Tim Cullinan said today’s Budget contains some of the targeted measures that IFA had looked for to address the challenges facing the sector.
Tim Cullinan acknowledged the rollover of the fodder scheme and tillage schemes.
He said that the renewal of the Beef Environment and Efficiency Scheme for sucklers (BEEP-S) was important, but the allocation was too low and it would leave support for suckler farmers well below what was needed.
“The fodder, tillage and suckler schemes won’t be enough to mitigate the 40% increase in farm inputs, particularly for the low-income beef and sheep sectors,” he said.
He acknowledged the introduction of an energy scheme to support farmers who will be facing very significant bills over the winter months.
“IFA raised this issue when it became apparent that farmers were to be excluded. It would have been a serious omission if farmers could not avail of supports to deal with rising energy costs. We are waiting to see the full detail on how the scheme will be operated.”
The IFA President said BAR funding of €238m for the farming sector could be significant but we needed see the proposed breakdown of the funds.
On climate measures, Tim Cullinan recognised the liming and multi-species swards schemes and the accelerated capital allowances for slurry storage. “While these schemes are worthwhile, they fall a long way short of what will be needed to help farmers meet their climate targets,” he said.
The 10% concrete levy will undermine these initiatives and means that TAMS costings will have to be revised.
For the new agri-environment scheme ACRES, IFA Rural Development Chair Michael Biggins said he would be concerned that the funding will not allow all potential applicants into the scheme.
“The Government have been trumpeting this new ‘flagship’ ACRES environment scheme, but the reality is that not every farmer who is currently in an environment scheme can be included in the new scheme based on the allocation made today,” he said.
IFA Farm Business Chair Rose Mary McDonagh welcomed the extension of the various agricultural reliefs, but expressed concern about the Minister’s comments about the Zoned Residential Land Tax.
“There is increasing concerning about how this tax will impact on farmers. Farm land should be excluded from the scope of the tax,” she said.
Ms McDonagh said the reduction in the flat rate VAT refund to 5% was a significant adjustment that would impact farmers by €46m.