Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Questions (270)

Carol Nolan

Question:

270. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans and incentives to encourage young persons to take up farming; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12644/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department currently has a range of measures, both under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and nationally, to encourage and support young farmers.

Under the CAP, the National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme provides financial support to young farmers and new entrants to farming during the crucial early years immediately following the setting up of a farm enterprise:

- 8,245 applications were received for the Young Farmers Scheme in 2018, with payments totalling €18.4 million issued to young farmers throughout Ireland.

- A further €31 million has been allocated since 2015 to young farmers under the National Reserve.

- Additionally, under the TAMS II Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, co-funded under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, young farmers can avail of the enhanced grant rate of 60% as compared to the standard rate of 40%. Under this Scheme, €12.5 million was paid to approximately 1,300 young farmers in 2018.

There are also a number of national taxation measures specifically aimed at young farmers, specifically ‘100% Stock Relief on Income Tax for Certain Young Trained Farmers’ and ‘Stamp Duty Exemption on Transfers of Land to Young Trained Farmers’. The Agri-taxation Review set out the main policy objectives for continuing support to the sector through agri-taxation measures including:

- Increasing land mobility and the productive use of land; allowing young farmers and new entrants to the sector gain access to land by providing a cheaper means of long-term access to land, as opposed to the relatively high cost of land purchase.

- Assisting succession and the transfer of farms, which continues to be a central part of the Government’s agri-taxation policy. Agricultural Relief from Capital Acquisitions Tax, Retirement Relief from Capital Acquisitions Tax, Retirement Relief from Capital Gains Tax and the stamp duty exemptions on the transfer of land all facilitate the early inter-generational transfer of farms.

In addition, in 2017 I launched the 'Succession Farm Partnership Scheme'. This provides for a €25,000 tax credit over five years to further assist with the transfer of farms within a partnership structure, promoting and supporting the earlier intergenerational transfer of family farms. This scheme also encourages important conversations within farm families regarding succession planning.

Teagasc’s recent publication “Teagasc Education Vision – meeting future needs” outlines the importance of education for young farmers and the development of their skills through education and training. This core function of Teagasc is supported and funded by my Department.

Furthermore, supporting young farmers and generational renewal continues to be a priority and will form an important part of the CAP post-2020. My Department and I are actively engaging with other Member States and the EU on these issues during the current negotiations on new CAP proposals.