Farmers will see nothing new nor any significant changes to their farming communities despite such a high spending budget, according to Vincent Roddy, president of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA).

Roddy expressed major disappointment following yesterday’s budget announcement, saying: “Farmers will rightly question the Government’s commitment to a just transition on climate change and biodiversity loss when assessed against commitments made across other sectors.”

Heavy lifting

Of the €858m increase in the budget to address climate change and biodiversity issues, there is “a commitment of an additional €152m for a just transition but is seems that none of this will go towards farming even though a lot of the heavy lifting will be left on the shoulders of farmers”, said Roddy.

There is he continued: “Already a compelling case for a just transition to be made for the many farmers operating under the burden of land designations. These designations have been assessed at EU level to cost these farmers €150/ha/year in terms of lost productivity and increased regulation.

"This was a major factor in our budget proposals where we outlined the need for an annual budget of €120m to ensure a just transition for these farmers.

"The fact that this continues to be ignored isn’t just an issue for the farmers concerned but should stand as a warning to all farmers as we face increasing demands in meeting national obligations on climate change and biodiversity loss."

Welcome reliefs

On other budget-related issues Roddy welcomed the continuation of stamp duty and stock relief for young farmers, but expressed concern with the decision to reduce the flat rate farmer VAT from 5.6% to 5.5% – a decision that will cost farmers €5.8m.

With regard to the roll-over of all current schemes, the INHFA leader stated that “while expected, he had hoped that additional supports would have been put in place for our suckler and sheep sectors”.