Farm schemes, Brexit supports and a carbon tax exemption for agri-diesel were the critical elements of IFA's pre-Budget 2021 submission, according to its president, Tim Cullinan.
The farm lobby group launched the 24-page document, containing proposals based on three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and social.
It has set targets for all agri-schemes and is seeking a payment of €300 per suckler cow, €30 per ewe and €300m for ANCs.
In its submission, the farm group suggested that its proposed suckler cow payment rate could be facilitated by a combination of CAP and national funding.
For 2020, a total of 27,000 suckler farmers have applied for the BEEP-S scheme, with up to 600,000 cows.
“At the payment rates of €90 on the first 10 cows and €80 on the remainder, the funding costs of this scheme will be up to €52m in 2020, as opposed to the €35m allocated in October 2019. This means this scheme will need a budget injection of an additional €17m for 2020.”
For 2021, the IFA is proposing the BDGP is renewed and simplified with funding increased from €45m to €90m per annum.
This, it added, would provide total funding of €142m pa for sucklers (BDGP €90m and BEEP-S €52m) and enable payment rates of €290 per cow on the first 10 cows and €250 per cow on the remainder.
It has called for the introduction of an enhanced environmental scheme to acknowledge the carbon sink provided by agriculture and to support vulnerable sectors like sucklers.
"The government must acknowledge the imminent threat of Brexit. In 2019, €110m was set aside for a Brexit reserve; his fund must increase in Budget 2021.”
“The €5bn contingency fund at EU level is essential, but we need our Government to be willing to help farmers too," he said.
On carbon tax, the farm group is calling for an exception for agri-diesel. "The purpose of the carbon tax is to change behaviour, but, farmers do not have an alternative to fossil-fuelled tractors.”
“There should be an exemption from carbon tax on agri-diesel until alternatives become available," said the IFA leader said.
"Stamp duty reliefs, specifically, consanguinity and consolidation relief, are due to be renewed this year - it is vital that this happens to encourage farm transfer and generational renewal," he said.
IFA farm business committee chair, Rose Mary McDonagh, said, “Our message to government between now and October is that the sustainable growth of our sector needs policies that encourage investment at farm level, recognise the role of agriculture in achieving balanced regional development and deliver viable farm incomes.”
"There is a significant need for taxation supports, in particular, through investment in emissions efficient equipment and the removal of discrimination in our tax system for the self-employed."
IFA rural development chairman, Michael Biggins, said farm schemes must remain a central part of government policy, particularly for the low-income dry stock sector.
"Direct payments are a huge part of family farm incomes. Targeted schemes are increasingly important, many of which have a significant climate action element," he said.
As part of IFA's campaign, officers will meet TDs & senators in the coming weeks at a local level.
On Wednesday, September 16th, IFA will hold its national lobbying day while adhering to all national guidelines regarding Covid-19.
More to follow…