Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1433)

Michael Healy-Rae


1433. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the plans in place for retiring farmers (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36395/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Early Retirement Scheme was suspended in 2008. It was re-opened briefly in September 2009, with limited additional funding to accommodate farmers who had applications completed or close to completion at the time of the original suspension in 2008. I can confirm that there are no plans to re-open this scheme or to introduce another scheme at this time.

In recent years, the priority of my Department has shifted to the encouragement of generational change for farmers by assisting the development of our young farmers. There are a range of supports in place including specific agri-taxation measures to incentivise this generational change. These agri-taxation measures specifically aimed at young farmers include 100% stock relief on income tax for certain young trained farmers and stamp duty exemption on transfers of land to young trained farmers.

Under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme, there is also an enhanced capital investment scheme for young trained farmers under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes. This Scheme provides them with grant aid at a rate of 60% of the cost of the investment, compared to the standard grant rate of 40%, and I believe it is an important support and encouragement to young farmers starting in agriculture for the first time.

With regard to the future of the CAP post-2020, one of the major initiatives which I will continue to

support is to combine EU measures with national measures such as taxation and other incentives, to

stimulate generational renewal. This is vital to protect the future of farming in Ireland.