IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary said Minister Coveney’s initiative to give 100 litres of quota to the few new entrants without quota planning to start delivering milk in the spring of 2015 makes sense. Co-ops could not legally collect milk from a farmer who has no milk quota until after 31st March 2015, yet a new entrant starting production would calve cows well ahead of that date.
“Farmers must understand that the very small amount of quota those new entrants will be allocated will give them no relief against superlevy, for which they will need to plan. However, it will ensure that they have the vital opportunity to start delivering milk as soon as their cows start production in early spring 2015,” he said.
On the Cash Planning Programme targeted to recent entrants who started production since 2008, Mr O’Leary said it was crucial that this scheme would be reviewed and broadened before 2015.
“The farmers who need financial planning education are the generation who did not benefit from agricultural business training. Most new or recent entrants who started production since 2008 would have received such training as part of their normal agriculture college courses, and would be better equipped to plan their business in an expansion phase,” he said.
“The bulk of the expansion in dairy production will be delivered by farmers who are today in the 45 to 55 year age group – and these are in the greatest need of financial and business planning training and support,” Mr O’Leary said.
“We understand the logic of utilising an available small budget on a clearly identifiable, relatively small population of farmers. However, the Minister must ensure that when the knowledge transfer measures under the Rural Development Programme are devised for the 2015-20 period, a bigger budget is targeted to those in real need of this assistance,” he concluded.