Foreword for the Farmers’ Handbook by Minister Charlie McConalogue

Agri-food is Ireland’s largest indigenous exporting sector and plays a vital role in Ireland’s economy. Over the past number of years, the sector has faced several challenges, but the agri-food sector has demonstrated its resilience and continues to go from go from strength to strength.

 

The new CAP Strategic Plan will provide almost €10bn to our farming families over the next five years, supporting them to continue producing safe, nutritious and high-quality food to the best environmental standards. Budget 2024 demonstrates my unwavering commitment to our beef and sheep farmers. In this context I was pleased to announce that I have provided targeted supports of more than €118m for the livestock sectors. I will continue to provide the €200 per cow payment delivered in 2023. In addition, I intend to provide an additional payment for sheep farmers which, together with the current Sheep Welfare Scheme payments, will result in a payment equivalent to €20 per ewe in 2024. This will be the highest payment ever provided to our vitally important sheep sector. Total expenditure for my Department in 2024, including direct payments, will be some €3.1 billion.

 

It is important that we also make progress on longer term challenges. My Department remains focused on delivering the ambition of “Food Vision 2030 – A World Leader in Sustainable Food Systems”. Food Vision charts a pathway to sustainability in all its dimensions – environmental, economic and social – and it places farm families right at its core.

 

I continue to work closely with my colleague the Minister for Finance on taxation issues relating to the agri- food sector. I am pleased with the renewal of the Consanguinity Relief for another five years. Generational renewal is a key policy objective for agriculture, nationally and in the EU. This measure encourages the lifetime transfer of farms, thereby enhancing generational renewal in the sector. The longer timeframe for its renewal will bring more certainty to farming families as they plan for their future. In this regard I should also mention the Succession Planning Advice Grant (SPAG), which supports those seeking succession planning advice.

 

I also welcome recent revisions to limits under the EU State aid regulations which provide additional support to young farmers. The aggregate lifetime amount of relief for the Young-Trained Farmers Stock Relief, Succession Farm Partnerships Tax Credit and the Young-Trained Farmers Stamp Duty Relief will be increased from €70,000 to €100,000.

 

I was pleased to secure the renewal of another important relief, the Acceleration of Capital Allowances for Farm Safety Equipment and changes to long-term leasing. I would also like to remind farmers that Accelerated Capital Allowances for Slurry Storage will be available for another two years. In addition, the extension by the Minister for Finance of the liability date

for the Residential Zoned Land Tax provides an opportunity for people to engage with the process during 2024.

 

I would also like to mention that we have just launched the €500 million “Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme” (GSLS), a long-term loan scheme that facilitates strategic investments by farmers, fishers, foresters and food businesses to assist with investment for growth and resilience, as well as for climate action and environmental sustainability.

 

I am delighted to again provide a foreword for the Farmers Handbook and Tax Guide and I look forward to working with all agri-food stakeholders in the coming year.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine