The Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland (FCI) is calling on Government to include them in access to the carbon tax credit on farm diesel.

Currently the credit is only open to farmers, but the FCI has argued that the intended increase in carbon tax from €20 to €80 by 2030 will mean an additional €100m diesel cost.

“Farm and forestry contractors will be forced pass on this additional €100m cost to their 137,000 farming client customers,” the FCI said.

“These farmers cannot absorb this further increase at a time of tightening margins.”

Criticising Creed

The organisation was also critical of Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his understanding of the issue after he told RTÉ Radio One that most farmers provided diesel to their contractors.

The chair of FCI Richard White refuted this claim, saying: “It is widely accepted that many farmers would not have access to quantities of diesel that are required to fuel a modern silage harvesting system and contractors using modern machinery would be very slow to take diesel supplies from sources where they could not rely on consistency of quality.”

FCI members will be forced to pass on this substantial cost increase directly to farmers

Up to 90% of mechanised work on farms such as silage harvesting and slurry spreading is carried out by contractors, the FCI said, and it argued that the implications of carbon tax has the biggest impact on its members.

“FCI members will be forced to pass on this substantial cost increase directly to farmers. This will equate to almost a 14% increase for all farm and forestry contractor current annual charges turnover levels of more than €700 million,” they said.

Closing the gates on rural Ireland

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice added his weight to the argument to allow contractors access to the carbon credit.

"What Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are proposing in coming years in carbon tax will amount to rural people paying 25c/l in carbon tax," he said.

"This will be unsustainable and is hitting an industry that there is no viable choices at the moment in relation to different power types.

"With add blue in our new tractors,and other mechanical machines we have and we are doing our part despite a crippling tax. It will close the gates on some types of farming in this country."

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