ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has welcomed the allocation of €28 million for an additional suckler scheme as well as another year of the fodder support scheme, announced as part of today’s budget. However, he said that beef finishers and sheep farmers will be very disappointed that there is no targeted support for them. “ICSA has lobbied for support for all three sectors, and all are under pressure from the huge increase in input costs. The suckler herd is a vital national asset so extra funding there is very welcome.”
“ICSA welcomes the announcement that the Fodder Support Scheme will be rolled out again in 2023 and also we welcome funding for liming and a red clover/multi species sward scheme, along with the Tillage Support Scheme.”
“ICSA also welcomes the fact that the energy support scheme will provide some support for farm businesses.”
The ICSA president said he was stunned by the news that there will be a 10% levy on readymix concrete as well as other concrete products including blocks. “This will have huge implications for farmers. It will impact many farms who need a load of readymix for upgrades. It may also impact various concrete products and ICSA will be engaging with the detail of this. For example, many water troughs are now concrete products. Obviously, it will have huge implications for any farmer building a slatted tank, slurry or silage storage or grain storage facilities. We are calling on the Government to look at this again. This will overshadow the announcement of accelerated capital allowances for slurry storage (2-year write off rather than 7 years).”
The ICSA president said that the tax measures are broadly positive. “The first point is that we lobbied hard against any change to the Agricultural Relief on Capital Acquisitions Tax being reduced from 90% to 80% and any reduction on the thresholds. At least that has paid off with no change but in reality, the thresholds should be increasing in line with increased values.
“The extension of important stock reliefs and stamp duty extensions for young farmers, as well as for farm consolidation is to be welcomed. ICSA also welcomes the increase in the cut-off rate for income tax to €40,000 as well as the minor increase in the tax credits, worth €150 to a single person. It is important to note that a lot of work went in over the years to ensure that full time self-employed farmers got the same deal as PAYE employees including part-time farmers, in terms of the tax credits.”
In relation to fuel taxes, ICSA believes that not enough is being done to help the farming sector with the inordinate increase in diesel costs. “The increase in carbon tax is being offset by a decrease in the NORA levy on fuel which is helpful but in reality, fuel costs are playing havoc with silage costs, tillage costs, and the overall cost of feeding livestock. The government does not seem to appreciate how much this will ultimately impact food costs.”
In conclusion, the budget has some positive measures but it comes nowhere near dealing with the impact of huge cost escalation and there is little here to help farmers deliver on the extremely challenging climate targets they have been given. This budget does not address the need for substantial investment to help farmers on the road to significant emissions reductions.”