Older farmers need help to plan for retirement - Teagasc

There are constant queries about farm succession
There are constant queries about farm succession
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

A senior official in Teagasc has said the next CAP should contain incentives to assist older farmers who want to exit the sector.

Kevin Connolly, a Teagasc specialist on farm management, said there needs to be a more nuanced approach to assist with transfers. "The time has come to look at something for the older generation," Mr Connolly said.

Referencing recent changes to the tax system to encourage the entry of young farmers into the industry, Mr Connolly said there is "plenty there" in the shape of incentives like land leasing arrangements and stock relief.

Mr Connolly was speaking at the launch of the Tydavnet Show. The Co Monaghan show is celebrating its 68th anniversary this year and will take place on Saturday, August 17.

Connolly, a key architect of many of Teagasc's farm finance packages, including the profit monitor, said there is an onus on policymakers to help retiring farmers too.

Mr Connolly was also critical of the previous package - the Early Retirement Scheme, which was introduced in June 2007 and ran until 2013. Farmers who retired early under the scheme could have been eligible for a pension of up to €15,000/year for up to 10 years.

"I think they missed a trick with the last retirement scheme… the farmer had to step back completely," said Mr Connolly.

Welcome

"There are rumours of something coming down the line in the new CAP. This would be very welcome."

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Mr Connolly added that such a scheme should be more strategic.

He said that the older generation often have huge amounts to offer to the next generation, and forcing them to retire fully is not conducive to a successful handover.

"You have to look at it from both angles… to allow the older farmer to gradually step back and the young farmer to gradually step forward."

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