Land availability is a particular problem for future Irish farmers.
As a young person, the unavailability of land on the market really gets on my nerves. Not only the unavailability but the sheer waste of land.
Like any young person, we have aspirations of farming and expanding whether it be in dairy, beef, sheep or tillage. With all this talk of Dairy Expansion across the country, here in the west and northwest it seems like an impossible task.
The simple fact of the matter is that Irish land is scattered and fragmented which makes expansion all the more difficult. And when you find a nice parcel of land you pay an arm and a leg for it.
I am all for the Young Farmers scheme which encourage young people to inherit farms or start farming on Greenfield sites. However even at this there are still so many rules and regulations when you finally get accepted for whatever you do. All it looks like to me is that the Irish government have made it as hard as possible for the farmer to make a few pound.
Farmers in the south or east of the country might look at this and ask, “What are you on about?”.
The fact is that in parts of the country, not only confined to the west, land is going to waste. Just ask yourself of all the farmers that you know that have a large farm of land and keep the 7 L.U required in order to keep the payment coming in every year.
And on the other hand, you have progressive farmers crying out for land. It is such a shame to see the finest of land going to waste. I would completely be of the opinion that pride plays a key role in Irish farming but my hat’s off to the farmer that will farm his land to the best of his ability for a hard-earned week’s wage.
Realistically there are part-time farmers and that’s completely fair, but there is a contingent that is greedy and unfair. These farmers would be better off leasing their land and having it productive instead of draining the system of unnecessary payment.
I don’t think for one moment that things are going to change overnight but there has to be a change in farmers’ mentality. Not looking for farms to sell up shop but similar to the New Zealand model that the Irish are now infatuated with, set up share partnership.
It’s slowly but surely becoming practised in Ireland and is only realistic on a large scale. We must also welcome the initiative in place that allows tax free money on money received on leased land. It’s now the 21st century and some farmers would have to wake up and smell the roses or Irish agriculture will go backwards instead or forwards in the right direction.