Lump sum payments to older farmers to help encourage transfer of land - Hogan

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan. Photo: Reuters
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Lump sum payments for older farmers who permanently transfer their holding to young farmers has been suggested by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan as a measure to improve the age profile of farmers in the EU.

In a speech to members of EU young farmers group CEJA he said for the first time ever, the crucial importance of young farmers and generational renewal has been explicitly stated as a key objective of the CAP.

"I promised that, as a former young farmer myself, I would make it one of my top priorities to put general renewal and young farmers as high as possible on the EU agenda," he said.

According to Commissioner Hogan, young farmers will benefit from a wide range of instruments, through a combination of mandatory and voluntary aspects under the new CAP.

At least 2pc of the national direct payments envelope will have to be devoted to generational renewal. Spending today amounts to only 0.8pc.

This amount has to be allocated either in the form of top-up income support in Pillar I and/or lump sum installation grants in Pillar II.

"This is a very important innovation – Member States will have to use it or lose it. 

"Member states may wish to spend more if there are identified needs. 

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"You can see that with this financial earmark, we are more than doubling our firepower to support generational renewal," he said.

He said the Commission proposal in the next CAP Member States will have more capacity to tailor the scheme to the specific needs of young farmers.

In addition, he said reserves for payment entitlements will be used, as a matter of priority, for young farmers and farmers commencing their agricultural activity.

There will be an increase in the maximum amount of available aid for the installation of young farmers and rural business start-ups, up to € 100,000.

Beyond direct payments, Hogan highlighted that Member States will have the option to support different forms of cooperation between farmers.

"This could encompass farm partnerships between different generations of farmers.

"It could mean retirement planning and lump sum payments for older farmers who permanently transfer their holding;

"It could mean improved brokerage for land acquisition, he explained.

Commissioner Hogan said making it easier for young farmers to enter the sector through such direct aids, should hopefully see the overall proportion of young farmers increase. 

"This should ensure that the total pot of direct payments reaching young farmers will be well into the double digits as a percentage of the overall envelope," he said.

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