Fine Gael’s national agricultural, food and rural development forum has recommended that land leasing payment rates should be limited in order to address rising leasing costs.

The party’s forum has said that these rising costs are making it hard for young farmers and farmers in certain sectors of farming to compete.

To address this, the forum has proposed a new upper limit on the tax-free element of long-term leasing.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, forum chair Eddie Downey stated that the “limit will apply to the payment per hectare that will be tax free and not the number of hectares leased”.

He said that no figure for the proposed cap had been set yet.

Downey added that the recommendations have been made to “reduce the number of entitlements in the system and increase the availability of land at a more reasonable price”.

“We want this to free up land and get it into the hands of young and active farmers, and bring certainty to the land market so farmers can take on some longer-term leases,” he said.

Land leasing recommendations

The Fine Gael agriculture forum has proposed:

  • Introducing an upper per-hectare limit on the tax-free proportion offered for a long-term lease. This would not affect the maximum amount a landowner could receive tax-free from long-term leasing which would remain unchanged.
  • The upper limit could be slowly introduced over time to avoid disrupting existing leases and the normal operation of the market.
  • Amounts charged per hectare above the upper limit would be subject to normal taxation.