Macra na Feimre has reiterated its ambitions to secure 4% of direct payments for young farmers in the next CAP.
This would deliver a €250m fund to support young farmers with almost €50m available annually from 2023 to 2027.
“It’s vital that Ireland commits to no less than 4% of direct payments to be directed to young farmers," Macra president Thomas Duffy said.
"This forthcoming CAP is the time to get serious on generational renewal and put money where their mouths are.”
The current CAP limits young farmer supports to no more than 2% of a country’s direct payment budget. The original proposals for the post-2023 period was to set a minimum figure of 2%.
Macra wants to see this figure doubled, in line with proposals from MEPs in the European Parliament.
Addressing the Oireachtas agriculture committee on Tuesday, Duffy said only 5% of farmers in Ireland are less than 35 years of age, with 30% of farmers over the age of 65.
He highlighted shortcomings in the assessment of success of measures introduced in the previous CAP reform including the young farmer scheme and the national reserve. The most recent information of young farmer numbers dates back to 2016.
“The Commission has published no documents examining the success of measures based on any newer information before making member state specific recommendations for CAP strategic plans,” Duffy said.
Macra representatives explained how the organisation has been leading a move away from a succession model towards a collaboration approach in recognition of the dynamics of farm transfers.
However, it was emphasised that supports have not kept pace. In particular the five-year limit for receipt of young farmer supports was identified as a barrier.
Outside CAP supports for initiatives such as Macra’s land mobility service, Duffy stressed the importance of renewing the young farmer stamp duty relief, due to expire on 31 December 2021.