Funding for Farm Schemes Vital for Low-income Farmers – IFA

Reacting to today’s Budget announcement, IFA President John Bryan said the additional €23m for the Suckler Herd in Budget 2014 is positive, and a first step in what is required to sustain the sector.

John Bryan said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must ensure that all eligible animals secure the estimated €60 per cow in 2014, and that there is a significant increase in the Suckler Payment in the new CAP Programme from 2015.

The IFA President said the absence of a new agri-environment scheme for the 13,000 farmers leaving REPS4 is a serious blow. “The Minister must move to ensure that farmers with restrictions on their farming activity are provided with an interim scheme in 2014 until the new Rural Development Programme is introduced in 2015. IFA is looking for a new agri-environment scheme to support 50,000 farmers as part of this new Pillar II Programme from 2015.”

John Bryan said, “Suckler and sheep farmers recorded an average income of €14,000 in 2013 (NFS, 2013). These are vulnerable low-income family farms which need to be supported if we are to sustain our highly important beef industry, supply our key markets and avail of the growth and profit generating potential of the sector for these families into the future. The rollover of the Sheep Grassland Scheme will provide badly-needed support for this sector”.

The IFA President said the retention of funding for key schemes, including Disadvantaged Areas, AEOS, TAMS and Forestry for 2014 is vitally important. “However, the Minister now needs to deliver 50:50 co-financing for the Rural Development Programme for 2015-2020, including a strong agri-environment programme for 50,000 farmers.”

The IFA President said, “The increase in the VAT rebate from 4.8% to 5.0% was justified. The extension of the CGT relief to farmers who want to dispose of land they have held on a long-term lease will help mobility, and is vital to facilitate the growth plans set out in Food Harvest 2020. The proposed review of hard-won tax reliefs for agriculture is a serious concern and IFA will work to ensure that all reliefs are maintained”.

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