Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (524)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

524. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the grants and schemes, tax breaks and other matters for which an agricultural qualification is required; the arrangements he has made to ensure that there is an adequate supply of places provided on courses to acquire these qualifications; the current waiting time for such courses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21213/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There are two taxation measures available exclusively to younger farmers that require a minimum agricultural education standard:

- 100% Stock Relief on Income Tax for Certain Young Trained Farmers

- Stamp Duty Exemption on Transfers of Land to Young Trained Farmers.

By targeting those who have undertaken the necessary training to learn the skills that will maximize the potential of their farm holdings, the inclusion of minimum agricultural education standards as part of the eligibility criteria ensures the allocation of resources to those younger farmers who have shown a clear commitment towards their career in agriculture.

Traditionally an educational qualification was a requirement under the National Reserve measure of the Single Payment scheme and it is likely that it will also be a requirement under the Basic Payment scheme National Reserve. Also I intend to include an educational qualification standard as part of the qualifying criteria under the Young Farmers scheme to be introduced in 2015.

Under the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) which were in place under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme, the selection criteria in certain cases gave priority to farmers who had completed a certain level of agricultural training. Under the TAMS Sow Welfare Scheme, it is a requirement that an applicant has a Certificate of Participation in a Teagasc Pig welfare Workshop.

Teagasc, which comes within the remit of my Department, provides integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities. The arrangements it has in place to ensure supply of places is an operational matter for that agency.