Macra quick off the mark with CAP plans
“If we are to be successful in tackling the demographic and structural challenges in Irish agriculture, a paradigm shift in CAP post-2020 is required, including young farmer proofing of all aspects of the CAP.” So said Macra national president James Healy, as the organisation proposed ambitious changes to address structural, competitive, and generational challenges in Irish farming. Following an extensive consultation with 1,000 young farmers countrywide, Macra is the first Irish and European farm organisation to develop a publically available policy document on the CAP post-2020.
To address the lack of young farmers in the industry, the organisation calls for a minimum of 10% of the total CAP budget to be dedicated to generational renewal and young farmer measures.
Successfully involved with FBD Trust in the Land Mobility Service which goes from strength to strength, Macra in its policy document supports access to land through the Rural Development Programme, and introduction of a farm succession plan that encourages older farmers to collaborate with younger farmers.
The policy paper also proposes abolition of the “five year rule” and suggests changes to the active farmer definition to ensure payments are targeted at active farmers. Macra does not favour historical reference year payments, an “outdated“barrier to young farmers. Instead, the organisation proposes a new four-way budgetary split for direct payments, with 40% targeted at economic viability, 30% at climate change and environment, 20% at farm business development measures, and 10% at young farmers.
For young farmers to offset establishment costs, the Macra policy contains details of a mandatory start-up aid package.
Start-up aid would be available for vouched expenditure and necessary capital inputs and investments at establishment.
Macra calls for mandatory young farmer top-ups (once established) for all those up to the age of 40 that meet young farmer definition criteria, and a continuously funded National Reserve to provide young farmers under the age of 40 with national average payment entitlements. Also proposed in the document are introduction of financial instruments to make alternative sources of credit available; addressing market failures; a new voucher system for knowledge transfer; result-based environmental schemes; measures to boost farmer health, safety and wellbeing; and farm improvement measures such as a grazing infrastructure scheme. Macra also makes the case for a budgetary increase for the CAP.
Awbeg Macra’s Set Dancing team who won their section of the Cork County round of the National Talent Competition last weekend.