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Sunday 22 July 2018

Early retirement scheme the 'missing link' to young people farming

Macra na Feirme president James Healy on the family farm in Donoughmore, Co Cork. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Macra na Feirme president James Healy on the family farm in Donoughmore, Co Cork. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The "missing link" in the drive to get more young people to begin farming is the lack of an early retirement scheme, it has been claimed.

The ICMSA described the need for incentives to both age groups as key.

"Along with the young farmer schemes, we will need to see a properly funded 'early retirement' type scheme in the CAP post 2000," said the ICMSA's Pat McCormack after a Young Farmer Policy event with Teagasc.

"The emphasis so far has been on the 'coming' of age side of the handover with not enough attention being placed on the 'going' generation. This is the missing link," he stressed. He also described as "spurious" the five-year rule that limited entrants to the young farmer scheme to those that had started within that time period.

Macra na Feirme said a combination of incentives to allow older farmers to step back and retire is vital for generational renewal to be successful.

Macra president James Healy warned the historical "stop-start" nature of the young farmer scheme has been detrimental.

He said the current five-year rule associated with the young farmer measures is "too inflexible".

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