The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D, today (Tuesday) announced details of his Department’s 2020 Budget.
Speaking this afternoon, the Minister stated, “Today’s budget is unique in that it aims to preserve the strong financial supports that assist our agri-food sector, while simultaneously providing for the potential of a significant shock to the sector in the guise of a ‘no-deal Brexit."
Creed outlined that against this backdrop, his priority has been to support sectoral vulnerabilities that exist and to maintain a strong focus on climate action and environmental sustainability.
He said that he also wanted to maintain the ambition for the development of our food industry while helping farmers, fishermen and food SMEs to navigate the challenges of Brexit.
Today’s estimates provide a gross vote of €1.647 billion for the Department; this is €51 million more than in 2019, and is a 3% increase on the 2019 allocation.
- Between payments funded through the exchequer and from the EU, total payments to farmers in 2020 will be €2 billion.
- €110 million will be made available for the agri-food sector in the first tranche, to be supplemented by any exceptional aid provided from the EU.
Almost €85 million in targeted schemes to support sustainable beef farming including €45 million for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP), and a further €40 million for targeted supports.
The Minister said that the following options will be considered:
- The continuation of the pilot BEEP suckler cow/calf weighing scheme, under de minimis State Aid provisions, with a view to such a measure becoming part of the next RDP, subject to an evaluation of its effectiveness. "It will encourage weighing as a matter of course, in order to improve the environmental and economic performance of each suckler cow."
- The provision of supports for beef farmers rearing dairy-beef animals, to encourage best practice and improve the efficiency of such enterprises. "There is real potential for dairy-beef to provide a new income stream for beef farmers, provided we get the fundamentals right"
- Encouraging farm practices that ensure the very highest standards of animal welfare on beef farms.
- €18 million is included for the continuation of the sheep welfare scheme;
- Budget for Bord Bia will be increased by more than €1.6 million - much of the additional funding to be used to promote Irish beef and sheepmeat.
- More than €103 million in support for the forestry sector;
- Increasing the provision for on-farm investment, by more than €12 million, bringing the total to almost €91 million - fund investment in a range of environmental and competitiveness measures, including Low Emissions Slurry Spreading, solar panels, and slurry storage, as well as support for the horticulture and organics sector.
- The provision for agri-environment schemes increased by €5 million, bringing the total to almost €235 million.
- €3 million to fund additional pilot projects aimed specifically at climate measures in agriculture;
- A call for a new pilot EIP scheme on reduced management of farmed peat-land will be announced in due course;
- Teagasc’s capital provision of more than €9 million will permit it to proceed with the development of the food hub in Moorepark;
- €8 million is retained to support innovation in the food sector.
- Range of existing specific agri-tax measures are estimated to provide €240 million/ year in supports to the sector have been maintained;
- Renewal of Capital Gains Tax Relief on Farm Restructuring;
- Increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit to €1,500.