SPEAKING at a media briefing at the Dublin Horse Show last week, IFA President John Bryan urged the Government to facilitate the restructuring of farming so the next generation of farmers can drive the production necessary to achieve the growth targets for the sector.
He said, “Next month, our agricultural colleges will be taking in the highest number of students since the mid-1990s. At a time when the forced emigration of thousands of young people is leaving a void in this country, this group will play a key role in rejuvenating the farming sector by lowering the age profile.”
John Bryan added, “With over 25% of our farmers aged over 65, we need to encourage farmers to transfer their farm within their lifetime, and not penalise the person taking over. There must also be incentives to transfer land use and to promote on-farm investment.
“The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has identified progress in the Food Harvest 2020 Milestones for Growth Report. Farmers require supportive Government policies, through necessary measures and farm structural reform schemes, if the growth targets set out in Food Harvest are to be achieved.”
In a detailed submission to the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, IFA has set out the measures required to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of Irish agriculture through land mobility and structural change.
He continued, “While IFA is aware of the commitment in both the National Recovery Plan and the EU-IMF ‘Memorandum Of Understanding’ to reform capital taxes by end 2011, any reduction or removal of key farm taxation measures would have the effect of reducing farm transfers to the next generation, impacting on both the productivity and growth potential of the agriculture sector.
“The taxation measures currently in place are critically important to ensuring reform and growth in the agriculture sector through encouraging intergenerational farm transfers and increasing the availability of land,” Mr Bryan concluded.