MEP Billy Kelleher has suggested that all farmers should be given tax credits to alleviate the cost of leasing land, due to looming increased demand by dairy farmers.
Government, as part of Budget 2024, should review and amend the tax code to make the short-term leasing of this land less expensive, he said.
“The net result of the loss of the derogation will be a scramble for additional land by dairy farmers who can afford to lease land.
"This will mean dairy farmers competing with tillage farmers and tillage farmers competing with beef and sheep farmers for a limited amount of land,” he said.
Kelleher’s comments come in response to the cut to Ireland’s nitrates derogation, confirmed by his Fianna Fáil colleague Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue last week.
The Ireland South MEP said the decision by the European Commission not to extend the nitrates derogation will cause “significant upheaval” and financial challenges for Irish agriculture.
Kelleher's constituency contains the majority of derogation farms and he called on the Government to step in now and support farmers.
“In the medium term, we need to be more creative in how we deal with nitrogen emissions by our dairy herd.
"We need greater slurry storage capacity installed across all our farms and mechanisms by which our dairy farmers can work with their neighbouring non-dairy farms to spread their slurry in a safe and sustainable way,” he said.