ICSA calls for establishment of €10 million fund for young farmers at Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting

15th November, 2012

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association today (15th November) presented its pre-Budget 2013 submission to the members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture.  

A delegation, led by ICSA national president Gabriel Gilmartin, outlined the contents of the document, entitled Ireland’s Agriculture: A Key Part of our Economic Recovery, which emphasises the need to nurture rather than hinder the sector in order to support its continued success and expansion.

Addressing the committee members, Mr. Gilmartin said, “We believe that it is now vital that a fund of €10 million be established to provide installation aid for young, trained farmers.  Bearing in mind that the ageing population of the farming sector, these young, trained farmers must be encouraged and supported if we are to be sure of the continued success of Irish farming.  The Government must realise that an investment in this area would provide an excellent return for money and go a long way towards creating the environment under which Ireland can realise the potential identified under the Food Harvest 2020 report. “

Mr. Gilmartin also highlighted the need to fully retain funding for vital farm schemes, which he said provide excellent value for money and have made a huge contribution to the wider industry.  “Particular importance must be given to the various farm support schemes that have for many years formed a crucial part of family farm income.  ICSA is of the strong opinion that no further reductions should be made to the funding of these schemes.”

Mr. Gilmartin gave the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme as a prominent example.  “The Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme is a vital support for many farmers and must continue to be funded for 2013 and 2014.  It encourages proper weaning, it’s good for animal welfare which is directly beneficial to our exports, and the data that’s being generated through the scheme is incredibly useful and is rapidly transforming beef breeding in Ireland.  However, the funding for it has been cut in half and we are insisting today that it must be continued at least until the new CAP regime comes into place.  At ICSA’s Annual Conference last December, I was delighted to hear the Minister for Agriculture affirm his commitment to the suckler herd and we would call on him to ensure that this commitment extends to the protection of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme in the upcoming Budget.”