IFA: Strong Budget That Supports Farmers 'Imperative' In Current Climate
President of the Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA) has said that a strong Budget ’19 that supports farmers is imperative given the immediate threats to the sector.
Healy made the call as the farmer’s representative group launched its pre-Budget Submission - Supporting Farmers Through Unprecedented Challenges today (Wed 22 August).
He said the extreme weather events this year, from snow to heatwave, have placed huge pressure on farm families and severely diluted their incomes.
In the medium term, Healy said, both the exposure to Brexit and the battle to maintain CAP funding for Ireland have created the ‘perfect storm’.
“Joe Healy said the extreme weather events this year have placed huge pressure on farm families and farm incomes. In the medium term, both the exposure to Brexit and the battle to maintain CAP funding for Ireland have created the perfect storm,” Healy said, speaking at the Submission’s launch in Dublin.
He added that Ireland’s agri-food sector is most exposed to Brexit, with ‘no positive outcome for agriculture’.
He highlighted that the average farm income last year was significantly behind industry averages in other sectors, and he does not see any evidence of this changing.
IFA Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton said, “Budget 2019 provides an opportunity for the Government to give direct and positive support to farming enterprises.”
Stapleton said that the proposals call on the government to tackle low incomes, especially “if we are to achieve Food Wise 2025 ambitious targets of €19 billion in exports for the agri-food sector.”
Some of the IFA expenditure and taxation priorities for Budget 2019 include:
- Targeted payment of €200 per suckler cow and an additional sheep payment of €5 per ewe.
- €250m for agri-environmental schemes.
- Provision of low-cost loans to support both ongoing working capital requirements and for on-farm investment.
- Funding to meet the Government commitment to introduce a three-year cap on the inclusion of productive assets under the Fair Deal Scheme.
- Measures to encourage the use of renewable energy.
- Earned Income Tax Credit must be increased from its 2018 level of €1,150 to €1,650.
- Income volatility – an extension of income averaging, greater flexibility on ‘step-out’, and provision of a provision of a deposit scheme.
- Maintenance of a number of taxation measures that encourage farm transfer.
- Increased allocation of funding for the Walks Scheme.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.