Macra delegation meets with Minister

A delegation from Macra na Feirme met with Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue in the Backweston facility on Wednesday last to highlight the need for a Common Agriculture Policy that will deliver for young farmers and their families.

Leading the delegation, Macra na Feirme’s National President, John Keane, pressed the Minister on predicted numbers of young farmers in 2027 as a result of this CAP.

“The number of young farmers involved in farming by 2027 will be the litmus test for the success of this CAP and its delivery on the objective of Generational Renewal,” John Keane said.

“That target will be required by the EU Commission and will be the Department’s best chance of getting the CAP Strategic Plan (CSP) through the Brussels system. The Department must deliver on the suite of measures proposed by Macra na Feirme to address to barriers to entry for young people entering the agriculture sector”.

“There are targets for everything but there are no targets in place for the farmer demographics make up at the end of this CAP. It is unthinkable that the sector would remain at 5 per cent or less of farmers under 35 over the life of this CAP,” added Macra na Feirme Chief Executive Denis Duggan.

ESRI and CSO data indicate that the overall national workforce is made up of a minimum of 30 per cent of young people under the age of 35. Agriculture and farming are a complete outlier with 5 per cent of farmers under the age of 35. Macra na Feirme have made an impassioned plea with the Minster to ensure that the sector is dynamic and vibrant by setting an ambitious target to have at least 30 per cent of farmers under 35 similar to other sectors of the economy.

On the Carbon Cessation Scheme which was recently floated in the media, Macra na Feirme strongly believe that the scheme as it is outlined is not viable for encouraging the next generation of young farmers coming into the sector.

John Keane said: “This is a non-runner for young farmers. It is effectively taking land out of agriculture altogether, rather than a retirement scheme. If the Department are serious about a Carbon Cessation Scheme, there has to be measures within it that allow an older farmer to enter the scheme, and also allow a young farmer to enter farming.

“Macra na Feirme’s land mobility service is a complementary service that can facilitate such an on-farm succession scheme”.