Questions around farm partnerships and TB implications, as well as tax relief when transferring land, were some of the main questions asked by farmers at an IFA succession meeting in Roscommon last week.

Here is how the panel of experts responded to farmer questions:

Questions and answers:

Q: What is the TB status of the herd in terms of disease or infection with heifers contracted out?

A: “Most farms taking on contract rearing are coming from a beef background and they don’t have a milking parlour. What the department and DVO have put in place is; for health reasons, once you have an animal calved down that has to be milked and if there is not a facility there, they can be moved back to the dairy farmer's farm. If the rearer’s farm is locked up with TB, then the dairy farmer’s herd is also locked up.” – Gordon Peppard, Teagasc

Q: I am looking at setting up a partnership but have a couple of concerns about joining herd numbers. I can’t find the rules anywhere regards sharing assets, sharing sheds and TB rules. What are the rules?

A: “It’s all regarded as one herd essentially for TB purposes, you can retain a herd number, partners coming in with their own herd number can retain it and it will become dormant and sit in the background.

"These partnerships are not for life, they are set up for a period of time. Eventually these farmers may potentially want to go their separate ways, so it’s important to retain your herd number – the department allow for that. Regards the DVO or RVO; once you go into partnership both herds are linked together, you can’t retain separate TB status.” – Gordon Peppard, Teagasc

Q: A herd number that goes dormant – does that have to be activated at any stage for ANC payment?

A: “For a farmer going into partnership they can’t be disadvantaged by that. They still get access to ANC as if they were an individual.” – Gordon Peppard, Teagasc

Q: Let's say I lease my farm for 15 years and die after 10 years, so there is five years of the lease left and my wife wants to move into the city. Can she sell the farm, or what happens to the person who leased the farm for 15 years?

A: “It depends on the terms of the lease. It's binding on the landowner, and their successor is assigned, so if something happens the landowner the lease would normally continue on. If something happens the tenant, normally the lease comes to and end. The land could be sold or transferred in the meantime, but it's subject to the lease.” – Aisling Meehan, agri solicitor

Q: Can you be employed or have a certain employment status for class A status? Can you operate as a contractor?

A: “It would have to be an employee. You would have to operate under PAYE and then pay them. If you got more than €37,000 then you would have to register for VAT.” – Martin Clarke, IFAC

Q: If there are three people in a company and one of them passes away without a will, do the rest of the assets go back to the two people?

A: “If the land is in the company then it’s a company asset, it won’t make a difference, it's whoever the shares are going to in the company. It will goes back to the other two.” – Martin Clarke, IFAC