Farmers ‘upbeat’ about future

FARMERS have never been as positive or optimistic about their future in the industry, delegates at the opening of Macra na Feirme’s annual conference were told at Little Island, Co Cork, last night.

Macra president Alan Jagoe said the agri industry is performing positively against a backdrop of econ-omic gloom around Ireland.

“Our agricultural colleges are so full of young farmers that Teagasc had to open 10 new centres around the country,” he said.

Mr Jagoe said the sector is entering exciting times, with the abolition of milk quotas in 2015 and the possible re-establishment of a sugar industry.

There are, however, some immediate concerns for young farmers — the budget is a particular worry.

Tax reliefs and incentives that encourage land transfer and establishment in farming need to be retained in their current format, the conference heard. These include stock, stamp duty, agricultural and capital gains tax reliefs. They are the only mechanisms in place to aid the transfer of land and assist young farmers.

Mr Jagoe said a farm is also a business that continuously develops. Therefore re-investment is vital.

“If the capital allowances that are currently in place are changed, it will be a step in the wrong direction for young farmers,” he warned.

The conference, officially opened by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, was organised by Seandun Macra and sponsored by Dairygold Co-op.

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