Catherine Buckley, president, said radical changes are needed if young people are to be attracted into the industry.
“The targeting of increased quota to new and recent entrants is required to allow the farmers who are the future of the dairy industry to rapidly expand their businesses and to prepare for an environment where we will no longer have milk quotas,” she said.
Ms Buckley said this additional quota would be purely a licence to produce rather than an asset, and the quota should be allocated nationally and separately from the milk quota exchange.
Ireland has a competitive advantage in dairying and farmers should be allowed to exploit this, she said.
The Macra leader said it was the final opportunity for the Department of Agriculture to restructure the dairy industry before the abolition of milk quotas. “Dairy farming is a very labour intensive and tying occupation and young people must see the prospect of proper rewards for their time, if they are to commit to the sector.”
“Macra believe more steps to encourage partnerships, including the introduction of individual limits for young farmers in new entrant/parent partnerships are required. The Government must ensure, where practicable, schemes and rules shall act to encourage and promote farming in partnership in the interests of efficiency and competitiveness.