Macra’s demand for government action on young farmer support has been reenforced by Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, Member of the European Parliament Agricultural Committee.
MEP MacManus commented that, last week: “Macra President John Keane called out the Irish Government for its failure to prioritise generational renewal. President Keane rightly highlighted that Ireland is an outlier in this context and even the European Commission is concerned.”
“In support of our young farmers, I will be contacting the European Commission to demand that they engage with the Irish Government to address its lack of ambition on generational renewal.”
The Midlands Northwest MEP pointed to alarming statistics. “The trends are only going one way and it is not a positive one. The Teasagc farm survey preliminary results, released earlier this week, show that the average farmer age has moved from 55 to 59 years old, since 2016.”
“Farming is a difficult and physical job and the age profile of farmers will play a role in workplace accidents. Until farmers are ready to retire, we need to be properly incentivising farmer partnerships and preparing younger people to take over these responsibilities,” he said
“I am very excited about the next generation of farmers. These bright young people are learning about the latest science and techniques at agricultural colleges around the country and this knowledge will energise the sector. They are also starting their career in a time when responding to climate change is a natural part of how we build a sustainable future for the sector. I see their involvement not only as a win for the environment but a win in achieving even higher food standards for our citizens.”
MacManus concluded, “We must not allow them to be locked out of making a career on the land by poor Government policy. Sinn Féin will always stand for the protection and development of our family farming sector, which powers our rural economies.”