National Reserve, access to land and finance, post-Brexit implications and the Teagasc green cert backlog are just some of the major concerns for young farmers, new farmers and emigrating farmers of the present day.
Over 30 young farmers mainly from agricultural colleges, members of Macra Na Feirme and broader farming organisations attended the Young Farmers Delegation Conference in Brussels yesterday, hosted by Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, who invited the delegates to the European Parliament to discuss the concerning issues with organisations representatives and commissions.
One of the main topics mentioned in yesterdays meeting was the issue dealing with CAP. CAP supports farmers’ incomes it also provides incentives to produce high quality food for consumers and encourages them to seek new development opportunities, such as renewable ‘green’ energy sources, to help protect our planet from climate change.
Liam McHale Director of IFA Brussels spoke about the IFA’s plans for addressing these challenges in the upcoming CAP review.
“IFA in association with other farming associations across Europe are looking at what is the best policy we can support, particular in relation to the budget. The CAP budget you know is under pressure. Brexit will cause a reduction in the budget, we’ve got other items for the defence, security and migration. We have to ensure that both pillar 1 and pillar 2 maintain the money that is there”.
Ricard Ramon Representative from the European Commission who deals with the future of CAP and future policy also added.
“The young will play a key role in the present day technology change. We think the access of the young generation to farming is at the same time an opportunity to accelerate this technology change, which is needed in Europe. This is why I like to talk about the generation renewable, both the human capital (the people) but also the physical capital (on the technical development). We also think in the next CAP we need to pay greater attention to these changes”.
(Carthy with some of the delegates and attendees)
National Reserve was another significant topic of yesterdays meeting. The National Reserve helps new and young farmers who do not automatically qualify for Basic Payment Scheme entitlements. MEP Matt Carthy spoke about the implements of The National Reserve in regards to young farmers and immigrants returning to Ireland.
“If we don’t have a National Reserve that is viable and easy accessibly and implemented at an national level so young farmers can create the space or for returning immigrants which is now becoming a big issue, facilitating them and getting their entitlements and getting their own farm up and running. So unless all of those things are tackled, basically the words of people are meaningless. There needs to be a certainty of a National Reserve going forward and that is something we are going to be working on over the next number of weeks and months”.
The latest problem concerning the backlog of green certs has effected young farmers from receiving top ups and without a green cert it restricts farmers from applying for farming schemes.
“We need to give amnesty for those farmers who are looking for entry to receive their top ups that they don’t actually need to have their green certs compiled at this particular stage. What we need to do is insure that as many young farmers as possible who want to enter into the farming sector are giving the opportunity rather than putting hurdles in their way”, explains Matt Carthy at the Young Farmers Delegation Conference.
Post-Brexit implications will have a substantial effect on trading between the north and the south if matters are not addressed.
“We need to ensure there is an absolute free trade, that we are operating on an all-Ireland agricultural labelling system and we are operating on the same rules in relation to animal health, in terms of environmental standards and in terms of food output. That is Sinn Féin’s absolute priority issue at this time”.
The future for young farmers might not look so bright in its current state, however with influential party members and enthusiastic followers, this state of affairs can only improve.
We will bring you a full video report on the conference this week. Stay tuned to Thats Farming more all the latest farming news and opinion.