Macra president John Keane
The go-ahead has been given for a 100% increase in annual funding for the Land Mobility Service – an independent facilitated service that matches young farmers and older farmers wanting to create collaborative farming arrangements.
At the Macra na Feirme Agricultural Conference today on Friday, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue announced the increase.
Speaking via Zoom to the conference, the minister said: “The Land Mobility Service has been one of the great success stories of agricultural policy over the past few years. I am a firm believer in using all the tools at our availability to leverage generational renewal.
"Funding through CAP supports young farmers but initiatives such as the Land Mobility service are crucial. I am a firm supporter of the service and I know that as we transition through the next decade, the need to have an agile and fit-for-purpose Land Mobility Service will be crucial. The Department has provided annual funding to the Land Mobility Service of €50,000 and this has remained unchanged since its inception.”
Minister McConalogue continued to announce an increase in funding for the Land Mobility Service in 2022 saying “I am pleased to announce that following positive engagement between John and his team, I have decided to increase the Department’s contribution by 100% for the year 2022. This is another clear example of my commitment to facilitating generational renewal in our sector.”
Responding to the announcement Macra na Feirme National President John Keane said: “We welcome the additional increase in funding for the Land Mobility Service. This funding recognises the continued role that a land mobility service can actively play in generational renewal.
"We look forward to the proposed engagement with the Department and Teagasc on the future of the Land Mobility Service, and to continuing our engagement with the Department about the role that the Land Mobility Service can play in the context of supporting the achievement of objectives of Generational Renewal within the future Common Agricultural Policy," he said..
In reference to recent announcements relating to CAP Minister McConalogue said: "There has been a 50% increase in the national envelope ringfenced for young farmers rising from 2% to 3%. I am ensuring that the National Reserve will remain open for young farmers too.
"The higher rate of 60% for young, trained farmers under TAMS will also be in place. I have also proposed to lift the TAMS investment ceiling from €80,000 to €90,000 in order to support farmers to make investments on their farms in light of rising costs. I have a review into TAMS costings ongoing which I expect will be completed shortly," he said.
The conference also heard from Diana Lenzi, President of CEJA, the European Council of Young Farmers who represents over 2 million young farmers across Europe. Diana outlined some of the common challenges facing all young European farmers, such as access to land and access to credit.
"There are three traditional roadblocks for young farmers. Access to land, credit and knowledge & skills. We cannot tackle land access or knowledge without access to credit and financing. If we do not solve the issues of land access and credit access in particular we will not have a cohort of young farmers entering the sector across Europe," she said.
In response to a question about the challenges facing young women entering agriculture Diana said: “It is important to speak up and be the voice of our own interests. We often hear a lot of policy makers speaking about young female farmers, but they are doing it without the knowledge of the challenges facing young female farmers.
"Young female farmers want to have the tools to address the barriers facing young women entering agriculture.”
The CEJA President also highlighted the importance in other EU member states of installation aid to support young farmers establishing their farming enterprises upon entry to the sector.
Ireland is one of only five member states where young farmers do not receive installation aid or start-up business support.
The Macra president has regularly called for start-up business supports in the next CAP for young farmers entering agriculture.
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