The biggest farming welcome for Tuesday’s Budget came from the next generation — with Macra President, Kieran O’Dowd, unreservedly welcoming measures to encourage better access to land for young farmers.
He said the increased tax free thresholds for long-term leases for lessors of any age will help increase long term leasing from the 6,250 leases for which tax relief is claimed, compared to nearly 40,000 conacre or yearly rental arrangements.
He said yearly arrangements were not a sustainable basis for young farmers to establish and grow their business. “Short-term land rental is causing a major barrier for the progression of Irish farming, therefore incentives that encourage long-term leases will favour the active use of the land and support active young farmers to grow their farm business.”
He also welcomed targeting of 90% agriculture relief to young active farmers, or those who lease out land on a long term basis.
IFA also broadly welcomed the agri-tax review announced by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, with their president, Eddie Downey saying it will help land mobility and structural reform. But he joined other farming leaders in saying more is needed to help farmers withstand their extreme income volatility.
ICMSA President John Comer said tax measures will enhance land consolidation, but ICMSA was extremely disappointed that an opportunity was missed in inter-family leases. He said farmers’ over-riding impression of the budget is the lack of any effective income management tool such as the proposed Australia-type Farm Management Deposit Scheme.
ICOS President Bertie O’Leary said Tuesday’s agri-tax measures will provide greater certainty in farm succession planning, facilitating more frequent and earlier transfer of productive assets to a younger generation of trained farmers. He welcomed the buffer against income volatility provided by the income averaging period Budget increase from three to five years.
ICSA president Patrick Kent said the agri-taxation review didn’t adequately support collaborative farming such as partnerships, and is instead geared towards leaving farming, and leasing out to unconnected third parties.
He also welcomed a newly proposed €12 million once-off Farm Safety Scheme, and €20 extra for the first ten animals (€200) in next year’s Beef Genomics Scheme. but said this does not alleviate the beef price cut losses of the last 12 months and LPIS review cuts.
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