Macra na Feirme is calling for a Farm Assistance Programme to be established for their 120,000 farmers as part of its pre-budget submission.
The group said there is an extraordinary need to address the health, safety and wellbeing of farmers. This they say can be done through training, education and innovation.
“The Government needs to show its commitment to young farmers by addressing both, the immediate issue of high-stress levels amongst farmers and also, the long-term funding required to have a serious impact on issues threatening the futures of our young farmers.” - Macra President James Healy.
As part of their pre-budget submission, Macra na Feirme have proposed the introduction of a Farm Assistance Programme. They estimated that the programme would cost in the region of €1.2 million, costing an average of €10 per farmer in their ranks.
They hope that the provision of a Farmer Assistance Programme can provide farmers with the practical assistance and emotional support they require in order to take proactive measures in times of crisis. This assistance programme would cover a full spectrum of issues such as; stress management and resilience, work-life balance and effectiveness, wellness, conflict resolution and financial planning. It is envisaged that the programme would have various avenues available for farmers to engage with the service, including helplines and one-to-one discussions to assist them in dealing with challenges they may be facing.
“Since Budget Day 2018 we have had the toughest weather conditions ever faced by farmers. Extremes of rain, cold and heat have led to high input costs and even higher levels of stress for farm families all over the country.” said Macra president James Healy of the submission.
“The Government needs to show its commitment to young farmers by addressing both, the immediate issue of high-stress levels amongst farmers and also, the long-term funding required to have a serious impact on issues threatening the futures of our young farmers. I believe we have put together a package of positive, but realistic measures that can make a real difference.” he concluded.
Other measures proposed in the Marca’s pre-budget submission include the removal of a current anomaly whereby a farm house transferred separately from other agricultural assets and does not qualify for agricultural relief. They are also calling for the introduction of tax relief on the leasing of farmland between family members. Further topics touched upon in the submission are Income volatility, Farm Income, Capital Taxes (Including Stamp Duty), Vat Review, Sustainability measures, Supporting Rural Ireland and much more.