Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1174)

Mattie McGrath


1174. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures he is taking to address the problem of generational renewal within Irish agriculture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19254/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department currently has a number of measures to support young farmers and generational renewal both at national and EU level.

Under the current CAP, the Young Farmers Scheme and the National Reserve provide 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’. These measures aim to increase land mobility and the productive use of land and to assist farm succession and transfer.

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.

I recently launched the Future Growth Loan Scheme with my colleagues. This is a long-awaited source of finance for young and new entrant farmers, especially the cohort who do not have high levels of security.

Supporting young farmers and generational renewal continues to be a priority for my Department 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.