CAP must strengthen the definition of an 'active farmer' - Macra
Young farmers are the lifeblood and future of rural communities providing direct and indirect employment, raw materials for exports and further processing and environmental and countryside management, according to Macra and the next CAP must reflect this.
In its CAP proposal, Macra na Feirme proposes the strengthening of the active farmer definition and also removing the five year rule which will result in the redistribution of direct payments. Ensuring financial support is directed to active farmers, will allow for a similar level of support to be maintained, but in a more focused fashion.
"The future of agriculture and rural areas relies on young farmers; however it is imperative the necessary resources and supports are made available to allow the development of their farm businesses to fulfil this expectation."
It also says that not only should the CAP budget be protected, but there should be an ambition to increase it if possible in light of the challenges which we face as young farmers at farm level.
"Increasing generational renewal in agriculture and effecting structural change in the age profile of farmers, requires our proposals to be implemented. To ensure all young farmer proposals are adequately financed, Macra na Feirme calls for the commitment of a minimum of 10% of the total CAP budget to be dedicated toward young farmer measures."
According to the European Commission (2013), 14pc of Europe’s farmers are under the age of 40, and therefore qualify as a young farmer.
"Expanding the young farmer top up to allow its availability to all young farmers, will act to increase the proportion of CAP spending to one of the smallest age demographics and therefore the impact on the overall budget should be small.
"A stronger active farmer definition will result in a fairer distribution of payments to not only young farmers and new entrants, but to all farmers."