Farmers are demanding that the Government honour its pledge to ringfence €1.5 billion for an agri-environment scheme.
Leading industry lobby, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) is calling for tax support, Government aid and action on the environment, in a pre-budget submission published on Wednesday.
Association president, Tim Cullinan, pointed out that the Government promised to ringfence €1.5 billion of its carbon-tax take for an agri-evironment scheme.
“We are still waiting for this commitment to be honoured,” he said. “IFA has made it clear that farmers are eager to be part of the climate solution.
“Accelerated capital allowances and VAT exemptions on the purchase of emissions-efficient investment will help farmers to play their role in contributing to the sector’s climate change targets.”
Mr Cullinan warned that Brexit trade disputes, imminent cuts in Common Agricultural Policy payments and tougher regulation, have left farmers facing an increasingly uncertain future.
The association is seeking €300 million from Government to support the areas of natural constraint scheme, which provides payments to people farming in designated disadvantaged areas.
Its president said that the IFA was also seeking funds for programmes including the green low-carbon agri-environmental scheme, targeted agricultural modernisation, organic farming, beef data and genomics, and sheep welfare.
“In addition, we need a new scheme for tillage farmers to stop the exodus from this sector,” Mr Cullinan warned.
Government must also renew the young trained farmer stamp duty relief after this year to encourage farm transfer.
Rose Mary McDonagh, the IFA’s farm business committee chairwoman, said the sector’s sustainable growth needed policies that encouraged investment and recognised agriculture’s role in regional development.
“We need significant taxation supports, in particular through investment in emissions-efficient equipment and the removal of discrimination in our tax system for the self-employed,” she added.
IFA rural development chairman, Michael Biggins, argued that farm schemes must remain a central part of Government policy.
“Direct payments are a huge part of family farm incomes,” he said.