MACRA na Feirme president Michael Gowing has accused the Government of including young farmers in the scrappage deal.
He said the Government’s lack of targeted support for young farmers is tantamount to throwing them on the scrap heap.
Without support, young farmers will not be able to enter agriculture and establish long-term viable businesses.
Mr Gowing said the Government has removed key incentives for young farmers, and has failed to target additional supports in new schemes. It is failing to support them in their choice of career.
He said the Government has given no indication that it wants to support young farmers who want to enter the agricultural industry, which is challenging and vital to the economy.
“The number of farmers under 35 years old has fallen below 7%, which is a stark warning to the Government that they must do something to protect the future of agriculture in Ireland,” he said.
Mr Gowing said the Government is throwing young farmers on the scrap heap by inaction. There is no targeting of support to farmers who need it most.
“The supports that were in place, including Installation Aid, have been abolished. There needs to be targeted incentives to encourage young farmers to stay farming and secure the economic future of Ireland,” he said.
Referring to the 2020 Harvest Report, Mr Gowing said education is mentioned and so are young people in the industry.
“But unless young people are encouraged into the industry, the Government is making a mockery of the whole report.
“How can they proceed with the strategy for the future of agriculture if they will not secure the livelihoods of those who are the future of agriculture?
“Young farmers are now saying, ‘enough is enough’ and drawing a line in the sand,” he said.
Mr Gowing said the Government must ensure the remaining supports for young farmers’ stock relief and stamp duty remain in place. If agriculture is to survive, the Government needs to provide additional supports. This will in turn create jobs and boost the economy, he said.
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