I want to thank the reader for sticking with me these last three weeks and say that I will bring it all together today (I promise).

The succession scheme, as proposed by Macra, does provide support for a farmer who wants to retire; however, this support is only on the condition that the land will, in the future, be farmed by a young qualified farmer.

The farmer who is retiring can sell or lease the land to a young farmer only.

If a retiring farmer wishes to lease/sell the land to a farmer who is not a qualified young farmer, then the benefits of the scheme cannot be availed of.

Environment

The young farmer who takes control of the land must farm in an environmentally sustainable manner; there are sufficient resources available to allow them to do just this.

The payment that will be made to the retiring farmer tails off over five years, and the retiring farmer also receives the monies from the lease/sale of the land.

It is quite simple, really: it was conflated by the Government parties with retirement and existing supports for existing farmers.

‘Seismic’ change needed

Minister, with respect to you and your governmental colleagues, our scheme is the only method of bringing new blood into the industry.

Ours is an industry that requires more change than any other industry in Ireland, yet we are seeing and experiencing inaction on behalf of the Government in bringing in this new blood.

With the greatest respect to all of our farmers, it is not unfair to comment that new blood will lead the changes required for the heavy lifting that is needed for us to meet our emissions targets.

If anyone feels that current Government policies will bring about the seismic changes required for Irish agriculture to meet our environmental challenges, then I am afraid, you are sadly mistaken.

We need succession, so I ask you and all of our readers to help us in lobbying the Government and election candidates over the future period in calling for a succession scheme.

Failure by some to recognise the need for such a scheme indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of Irish agriculture.

Elaine Houlihan

Macra national president

2023 – 2025