Macra na Feirme national president John Keane has said the funds announced in the CAP budget are missing a start-up business grant scheme for young farmers.

According to Macra, the announcement is missing €310m for young farmer measures, from the near-€10bn CAP budget from 2023-2027.

In reaction to the detail of funds announced, Keane commented: “We have consistently voiced the need to support young farmers as they begin their farming careers.

“The funds announced are missing a start-up business grant scheme for young farmers, a retirement scheme and funding for a land mobility service.

“The cost of providing these valuable incentives to support generational change and encourage new farmers to start farming is approximately €310m over the next five years.

'Real environmentalists'

“Young farmers are real environmentalists. The current generation and indeed the next generation of young farmers are more educated, informed and knowledgeable on best environmental practices.

“As young farmers, we are custodians of the local environment. Making farming attractive, and encouraging more young people into the industry through generational renewal initiatives like retirement schemes and a land mobility service, are good for our natural environment, climate change and biodiversity,” he insisted.

Let’s be clear, young farmers are not climate deniers

“Encouraging young people to take up farming as a career is vital for the future of our overall agri-sector.

“Let’s be clear, young farmers are not climate deniers. We understand the challenges ahead. Young farmers needed the Taoiseach and Minister for Agriculture to be bold, be ambitious and most importantly, be supportive, of the next generation.

“Instead, we have a budget that is short-changing the next generation by €310m,” he said.

“Significant funds were moved into the Rural Development Programme for environmental measures in particular, which is welcome.

“However, without young farmers entering the industry with supports like start-up business grants, there is a real risk that there will not be enough young farmers to avail of these positive agri-environment schemes,” he concluded.