Budget 2018 offers something for everyone but did not go far enough for young farmers, according to Macra na Feirme national president, James Healy.
While welcoming the introduction of a Brexit Loan Scheme, Mr Healy said: "Access to funding is a struggle for young agri-entrepreneurs, we welcome the €300m announced for the Brexit Loan Scheme. Young farmers must be a strategic priority within this allocation. The Minister for Finance specifically mentioned the intergenerational shift in farm ownership and management in his Budget speech and with this in mind, Macra na Feirme calls on Irish banks to prioritise young farmer access to this line of credit. The maintenance of young farmer stamp duty relief for inter-family transfer is important in the context of a rising stamp duty on commercial property. This young farmer relief supports intergenerational renewal."
But Mr Healy expressed his disappointment that there was no effort to tackle the issues of income volatility for farmers.
"No other industry could survive the income peak-to-trough experienced by farmers. Macra na Feirme had proposed measures through the taxation code to assist farmers in managing volatility. This was a missed opportunity by the Minister."
Macra na Feirme is also calling for the additional €19m allocated to Rural Affairs to be ring-fenced to support the implementation of the action plan for rural Ireland to ensure vibrant and dynamic rural areas which will create economic opportunities for rural youth.
"This was a failed attempt at a Late Late Show style budget where the government wanted to ensure there was something for everybody in the audience. But what the Minister for Finance has introduced doesn’t go far enough."