Ef­fect on Ir­ish farm­ing

Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE -

the in­dus­try; these part-time farm­ers are a bur­den on the in­dus­try.

3. Hobby or life­style

This cat­e­gory may have in­her­ited or pur­chased the land, but they gen­uinely en­joy part-time farm­ing.

In­come or prof­itabil­ity is never the top pri­or­ity, it’s a means of get­ting away from the day job, a good en­vi­ron­ment to raise chil­dren or sim­ply just a sta­tus sym­bol.

They are good cus­to­di­ans of the land and are very of­ten open to re­ceiv­ing knowl­edge and new tech­nol­ogy.

These farm­ers are of­ten the best pro­po­nents of agri-en­vi­ron­men­tal schemes. They will al­ways ex­ist even if there were no di­rect pay­ments, they must be in­cluded in any fu­ture agri­cul­tural pol­icy.

4. Off-farm ca­reer

This is a rel­a­tively new type of part-time farmer. A suc­cess­ful farm busi­ness prof­itable enough to be run with full­time labour as the farm busi­ness owner works off-farm.

Some large es­tab­lished farm busi­nesses where there are no farm­ing suc­ces­sors fall into this cat­e­gory. Re­duced or no sub­si­dies would af­fect this type of farm busi­ness, but for most it would not cause the busi­ness to cease. A sign of a great busi­ness is one that can run with­out the owner’s in­volve­ment. This is the part­time farm­ing of the fu­ture.

Over­all, the re­cently im­proved in­come tax ben­e­fits from long-term leas­ing of agri­cul­tural land has caused many to ques­tion con­tin­u­ing the vo­ca­tion of part-time farm­ing.

It is a clear sig­nal from gov­ern­ment to part-time farm­ers to exit the in­dus­try.

Yes, we have small farm size and frag­mented hold­ings in Ire­land; this mea­sure is good for im­prov­ing this as­pect of the in­dus­try.

How­ever, we must also recog­nise all the part-time farm­ers who choose to con­tinue to farm and find a way to in­clude them in the fu­ture of our in­dus­try.

The CAP re­form pro­posal that in­di­vid­ual mem­ber states will be able to de­cide what is best for each coun­try is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for Ire­land to ac­knowl­edge and plan the fu­ture role for part­time farm­ers in our in­dus­try — they are gen­uine and have lots to con­trib­ute.


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