independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Land transfer concern

Land transfer to young farmers was described as the "elephant in the room" at last weekend's Macra na Feirme conference.

Jim Power, of Friends First, said he had "no silver bullet" to solve the problem and could not see profit levels in farming being strong enough to justify land purchase.

Carlow-based tillage farmer, Jim McCarthy -- who has farming interests worldwide -- admitted that he hoped to farm until he dropped.

He said access to land for young farmers was hindered by EU farm subsidies and the single farm payment (SFP).

How could people who didn't have access to a SFP hope to compete with farmers who received substantial payments from Brussels each year, Mr McCarthy asked.

However, Mr McCarthy said if things didn't work out for young farmers in Ireland they should consider working abroad.

He said there was "an absolute famine" of talent available to manage sizeable farming operations abroad.

"There are really good prospects and there are so many exciting places to farm. The opportunities are mouth-watering," Mr McCarthy said.

He said opportunities existed in Saudi Arabia and Africa for farm managers and agriculture graduates.

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