Young farmers will be reeling with the news that any young farmer can only get grant aid on 10 milking units and that any farmer that avails of grant aid will be shackled from growing the herd for five years.

In practice, it will mean any young farmer won’t be using TAMS for milking equipment, but instead using TAMS for other less relevant investment in a startup business.

Milking accounts for between 30% and 40% of the time requirement on a dairy farm. Milking units are the best investment many can make in terms of making the job more sustainable for a young or start up business.

The inference in this new rule for those looking for grant aid is the environment and the cows are now more important than the person. He or she has to stay in the milking pit rather than invest for labour productivity. Macra president John Keane is right to be very annoyed.

President elect of Macra Elaine Houlihan will need all the support she can get from past presidents, current members and stakeholders to keep the flag flying for young farmers.

For many existing farmers, intergenerational family farming is the very reason so many stay farming in rural Ireland. We wish her the best.