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Thursday 21 September 2017

Mandatory start-up aid needed for young farmers - Macra

Sean Finan Macra na Feirme President, Phil Hogan EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Thomas Duffy Vice Chair of the Macra na Feirme Agriculture Affairs Committee
Sean Finan Macra na Feirme President, Phil Hogan EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Thomas Duffy Vice Chair of the Macra na Feirme Agriculture Affairs Committee
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Macra na Feirme is calling for mandatory start-up aid for young farmers and says older farmers should be farming in collaboration to receive EU funds.

Presenting its CAP 2020 Young Farmer Roadmap for Generational Renewal in Brussels this week, Macra says that mandatory start-up aid to help young farmers get started should be established.

"Once established we propose a mandatory young farmer top-up for all farmers up to the age of 40 and the abolition of the five year rule which will ensure equal treatment and access to measures for all young farmers," Macra President Sean Finan told members of the EU Parliament.

Macra na Feirme’s policy also advocates for a continuously funded national reserve once established for farmers with low value or no payments, he said.

The Macra na Feirme policy was developed after a national consultation process which included engagement with approximately 1,000 young farmers who expressed their vision for CAP 2020.

“We welcome the Commission’s focus on Generational Renewal as a key priority for CAP 2020.  As a young farmer organisation we have focused on Generational Renewal as the key theme of our CAP 2020 policy."

On the issue of succession, Macra na Feirme’s innovative proposal offers the EU Commission a clear inter-generational succession planning model to aid the exit from the industry of older farmers who want to retire.

“Macra na Feirme recognises the need and contribution that older farmers make to the industry. Our proposal includes a mandatory completion of a farm succession plan at 63, with a transitional payment available for farmers between 65 and 70 years."

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For farmers over 70, in order to continue to receive a CAP payment we are proposing that they must enter a collaborative farming arrangement, he said.

"This recognises the contribution and experience of older farmers within the industry which can be of tremendous benefit to a younger farmer at an early stage of their career. Our proposal also offers a mechanism for the approximate 45% of older farmers who have a desire to retire.”

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