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Welcome focus on generational renewal policy in CAP 2020

April 15th, 2017 7:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

Macra na Feirme president Sean Finan (left) pictured in Brussels with Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Thomas Duffy, vice-chairman of the Macra na Feirme Agriculture Affairs Committee, when they outlined Macra's CAP 2020 ‘Young Farmer Roadmap for Generational Re

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MACRA na Feirme representatives were in Brussels the last week of March to outline the organisation’s policy paper on the Common Agricultural Policy post-2020, entitled Young Farmer Roadmap for Generational Renewal.  

The Macra na Feirme policy was developed after an extensive national consultation process, which included engagement with approximately 1,000 young farmers who expressed their vision for CAP 2020.

Presenting the Macra policy to Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, members of the EU Parliament and young farmer member organisations of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), the national president of Macra na Feirme, Sean Finan, stated: ‘We welcome the Commission’s focus on generational renewal as a key priority for CAP 2020. As a young farmers’ organisation we have focused on generational genewal as the key theme of our CAP 2020 policy.   

‘Macra na Feirme’s progressive and visionary policy proposes significant change to encourage generational renewal and to support active farmers of all ages.”

The Macra na Feirme CAP 2020 policy advocates for mandatory start-up aid to facilitate establishment of young farmers into the industry. Once established, we propose a mandatory young farmer top-up for all farmers up to the age of 40 and the abolition of the five-year rule which will ensure equal treatment and access to measures for all young farmers.  Macra na Feirme’s policy also advocates for a continuously-funded national reserve once established for farmers with low value or no payments.

On the issue of succession, Macra na Feirme’s innovative proposal offers the EU Commission a clear inter-generational succession planning model to aid the exit from the industry of older farmers who want to retire.

Sean Finan added: ‘Macra na Feirme recognises the need and contribution that older farmers make to the industry. Our proposal includes a mandatory completion of a farm succession plan at 63, with a transitional payment available for farmers between 65 and 70 years. 

‘For farmers over 70, in order to continue to receive a CAP payment, we are proposing that they must enter a collaborative farming arrangement. This recognises the contribution and experience of older farmers within the industry, which can be of tremendous benefit to a younger farmer at an early stage of their career.  ‘Our proposal also offers a mechanism for the approximate 45% of older farmers who have a desire to retire,’ he added.

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