Macra praises retention of tax reliefs for young farmers

Young farmers are breathing a sigh of relief as Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has allayed their fears over stamp duty.

The minister confirmed that the retention of 100% stamp duty relief for young, trained farmers is being extended, and this will be reflected in the next Finance Bill.

Macra na Feirme president Alan Jagoe said this measure is important to facilitate farm transfer.

“The retention of young farmer tax reliefs in their current format is critical to the ongoing restructuring of primary agriculture and allowing the industry to capitalise on future growth potential.”

Mr Coveney said Ireland needs a young, dynamic, professionally trained cohort of farmers with the enthusiasm to take on new challenges and opportunities.

He said: “The tax changes in Budget 2013 incentivise inter- generational land transfer and facilitate farm re-structuring to improve efficiency.

“This is a clear message of support to the many dynamic younger farmers who plan to expand production over the coming years that I want to help them achieve their ambitions.

Meanwhile, Teagasc noted that increased resources devoted to farm partnerships would benefit the agri-food sector. The scheme has been expanded from dairy to also include farm partnerships involved in enterprises such as beef, sheep, and tillage.

Teagasc economist Prof Cathal O’Donoghue said that, in early 2013, a new initiative will be announced to further increase the uptake and success of the farm partnerships and collaborative arrangements such as share farming, leasing, and contract rearing of dairy replacements.

Ben Roche, Teagasc’s collaborative farming specialist, predicted that the partnership approach will see farmers making better management decisions, improved skills mix and a better lifestyle.

However, farmer groups have all criticised Budget 2013’s overall €89m in agriculture cuts, which, they say, will exacerbate the financial woes of farmers, following a particularly difficult 2012, in which farmers took a 22% hit to their incomes.

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