Young farmers call for radical changes to CAP including scrapping of historical reference year payments

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

FarmIreland Team

Macra na Feirme has proposed ambitious changes to CAP post-2020 to address structural, competitive and generational challenges in Irish farming. 

Following a consultation process with a thousand young farmers countrywide, Macra na Feirme National President James Healy said, "If we are to be successful in tackling the demographic and structural challenges in Irish agriculture a paradigm shift in CAP post-2020 is required, including young farmer proofing of all aspects of the CAP".

To address the lack of young farmers in our industry, Macra na Feirme is calling for a minimum of 10pc of the total CAP budget be dedicated towards generational renewal and young farmer measures.

The Macra na Feirme policy paper also contains proposed changes to the young farmer and active farmer definitions including the abolition of the ‘five-year-rule’ for young farmers and suggested changes to the active farmer definition to ensure payments are targeted at active farmers.

On CAP direct payments Macra na Feirme does not favour the outdated method of historical reference year payments which are a barrier to young farmers.

The organisation proposes a new four-way budgetary spilt for direct payments, with 40pc targeted at economic viability, 30pc at climate change and environment, 20pc at farm business development measures and 10pc at young farmers.

Macra's proposals also support access to land, along with the introduction of a farm succession plans that encourages older farmers to collaborative with younger farmers is outlined in detail.

For young farmers to offset establishment costs, the Macra na Feirme policy contains details of a mandatory start-up aid package.

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Start-up aid would be available for vouched expenditure and necessary capital inputs and investments at establishment.

Once established, Macra na Feirme is calling for mandatory young farmer top-ups for all those up to the age of 40, that meet the young farmer definition criteria as well as a continuously funded National Reserve to provide young farmers under the age of 40 with national average payments.

The introduction of financial instruments to make alternative sources of credit available along with addressing market failures, a new voucher system for knowledge transfer, result-based environmental schemes, farmer health, safety and wellbeing and farm improvement measures such as a grazing infrastructure scheme among others are presented in the document.

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