Speaking at the Macra na Feirme national AGM in the Radisson Blu, Sligo recently, Alan Jagoe, Macra National President, called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, to clarify recent comments on his support of a mandatory top-up for young farmers in Pillar 1 and show his unwavering support to young farmers.
“Let it be clear, I and Macra will not under any circumstances agree that any element of the young farmer package be diminished. Over the last number of months there has been increasing pressure from outside bodies to reduce, remove or to consolidate elements of the proposals directed at young farmers. I am calling on Minister Coveney to clarify recent comments and show his unwavering support for young farmers by publicly stating his commitment to a mandatory top-up for young famers in Pillar 1,” he said
The mandatory top-up for young farmers was a measure which was developed by Macra and proposed by CEJA, the umbrella body for young farmers in Europe. The measure has been adopted by Commissioner Ciolos. The measure is considered by the Commissioner as highly significant in addressing the age structure, the uncompetitive advantage and the exposure to volatility that young farmers experience.
“The age structure within Irish farming is an issue that we are extremely concerned about. CSO stats indicate that 6.9% of Irish farmers are under 35 and 25% are over 65 - a worrying trend. Some preliminary research carried out by Macra shows that large numbers of farmers have no identified successor. As a matter of urgency I am calling on the Minister for his support and backing to conduct an in-depth survey of farmers to get a true and accurate account of how this problem is. We propose [...] the establishment of a body or unit that has the job of promoting viable alternatives for farmers of all ages including partnerships, share farming, contract rearing, long term leasing or farm transfer,” added Mr Jagoe.