Agriculture schemes cut by €89 million
The Budget includes Department of Agriculture savings in the disease eradication, suckler cow, REPS and early retirement schemes which will yield some €89 million to the Exchequer, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said the €1.25 billion vote for his department "reflects a significant Exchequer commitment of support for the agri-food sector" and was recognition of the contribution the sector can make to economic recovery and future growth.
"I am confident that the measures introduced in Budget 2013, in a very challenging fiscal environment, will help us to continue on this path towards national recovery," he said.
IFA president John Bryan said the scheme that would replace the suckler cow scheme would result in greatly reduced payments to farmers while other cutbacks would reduce payments in the disadvantaged areas scheme and the sheep grassland scheme.
The Budget also includes measures to support farm expansion and encourage the transfer of land to the next generation. A 100 per cent rate of stock relief for young trained farmers, which was due to expire at the end of this year, has been extended for a further three years to 2015. This allows 100 per cent of any increase in the value of stock to be allowed as a trading expense.
The 25 per cent stock relief rate for other farmers has also been extended for the same period.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan also announced a widening of the definition of registered farm partnerships, so that more farmers could benefit from a 50 per cent rate of stock relief. Qualifying young trained farmers in such partnerships can continue to avail of the 100 per cent rate of stock relief.
Some 640 milk production partnerships have been formed but now beef farmers can benefit from the enhanced stock relief.
Mr Noonan said farming and the agri-food sector were “critically important to our economy” and both continued to perform strongly despite the difficult summer weather.
He also announced the introduction of a relief from capital gains tax arising on disposals of farm land for farm restructuring purposes. This once-off relief will apply in respect of transactions initiated in the period from the start of January 2013 to the end of December 2015.
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