Strong Budget Needed to Help Farmers Weather the Perfect Storm of Immediate Threats & Long-term Challenges
Launching the IFA pre-Budget Submission – Supporting Farmers Through Unprecedented Challenges – in Dublin today (Wed), IFA President Joe Healy said a strong Budget ’19 that supports farmers is imperative given the immediate threats to, & long-term challenges, for the sector.
Joe Healy said the extreme weather events this year have placed huge pressure on farm families and farm incomes. In the medium term, both the exposure to Brexit and the battle to maintain CAP funding for Ireland have created the perfect storm.
“Our message to Government between now and October 9th is that the future growth of the sector is intrinsically linked to support for farm incomes & policies that encourage investment at farm level. This year has taken a toll on farmers and the implementation of our Budget proposals can give them a signal that their role is recognised.”
The IFA President said our agri-food sector is most exposed to Brexit, with no positive outcome for agriculture. Average farm income in 2017 was approximately €31,000, falling significantly behind industry averages in other sectors. This is not set to change in 2018, which has proven to be a particularly challenging year for Irish farming due to extreme weather events.
IFA Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton said, “Budget 2019 provides an opportunity for the Government to give direct and positive support to farming enterprises. The IFA proposals call on the Government to tackle low farm incomes if we are to achieve Food Wise 2025 ambitious targets of €19bn in exports for the agri-food sector, while also supporting wider economic activity in rural communities.”
IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said farm schemes must remain a central part of Government policy, particularly for the low-income drystock sector. “The Rural Development Plan achieves a number of important objectives, including protection for the environment, support for regionally-balanced farming, provision of public goods and farm investment.”
The IFA expenditure and taxation priorities for Budget 2019 are as follows:
- Targeted payment of €200 per suckler cow and an additional sheep payment of €5 per ewe.
- Increased ANC funding of €73m to reverse cuts since 2009 and restore the real value of payments.
- €250m for agri-environmental schemes.
- Provision of low cost loans to support both ongoing working capital requirements and for on-farm investment.
- Funding to meet the Government commitment to introduce a three-year cap on the inclusion of productive assets under the Fair Deal Scheme.
- Measures to encourage the use of renewable energy.
- Earned Income Tax Credit must be increased from its 2018 level of €1,150 to €1,650.
- Income volatility – extension of income averaging, greater flexibility on ‘step-out’, and provision of a provision of a deposit scheme.
- Maintenance of a number of taxation measures that encourage farm transfer.
- Increased allocation of funding for the Walks Scheme.
As part of IFA’s campaign, our officers will meet TDs & Senators in the coming weeks at local level. On Sept 26th, IFA will hold its national lobbying day at which our officers will meet Oireachtas members from all over the country.
The IFA pre-Budget submission is on our website : https://ifalegacystagi.wpengine.com/prebudget2019