Macra stresses importance of National Reserve

The availability of a fully resourced National Reserve in 2016, and subsequent years is essential for young farmers, according to Macra na Feirme president Sean Finan.

Macra stresses importance of National Reserve

His comments came yesterday as fears grew that the scheme is under threat this year due to lack of funding.

Mr Finan said that the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine will need to examine a reallocation of funding to ensure the future of the scheme is secured should demand result in insufficient funds being available.

He said that the department had indicated that the level of funding available may not be adequate to open the 2016 National Reserve to young farmer and new entrant mandatory category applicants.

Mr Finan warned that closing the National Reserve, an important policy instrument to help young farmers get established, meant closing the door on young farmers establishing themselves in the industry this year.

Macra’s agricultural affairs committee chairman, Bryan Hynes, reiterated his committee’s unanimous call for the need for a national reserve every year.

“A consistent approach is required for young farmers’ schemes,” Mr Hynes said.

“The previous approach of a start-stop nature to young farmer schemes has a detrimental impact on young farmers.”

He said it was obvious from experience that when schemes are suspended or closed, they have a knock-on effect for future eligibility for young farmers.

Macra na Feirme has requested a meeting with the acting Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Simon Coveney, on the issue.

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