The challenge of generational renewal is widely recognised both at national and EU level. The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) cites generational renewal as one of its nine key objectives, while it is also prominent in Food Vision 2030, the new stakeholder-led strategy for the agri-food sector.
There are a range of measures in place at present, both in the existing CAP and at national level, to facilitate generational renewal. For older farmers specifically, under the current CAP, support is available to establish Collaborative Farming arrangements. The new draft CAP Strategic Plan proposes a new initiative to support advice for older farmers on succession and retirement options.
Further assistance is available from national supports including through taxation measures such as the Agricultural Relief from Capital Acquisitions Tax, Retirement Relief from Capital Gains Tax and Long-Term Leasing Relief, as well as the availability of tax credits via the Succession Farm Partnerships. Such interventions provide vital supports for older farmers wishing to retire.
As the Deputy may be aware, I recently established the Food Vision Dairy Group, which brings together key stakeholders to advance the actions for the dairy sector identified in the strategy, with the action “produce a detailed plan by Q2 2022 to manage the sustainable environmental footprint of the dairy sector” as a priority. The Group has been characterised by constructive engagement to date, with discussions on a variety of issues on the challenges facing the dairy sector, and I look forward to seeing the results of its deliberations shortly in the form of an interim report. No decisions on specific actions have been taken as yet.
I want to ensure that the dairy and wider agri-food sector remain strong and sustainable into the future, and will continue to engage with stakeholders to find the best approaches to support all farmers to ensure a bright future for the sector.