Investment of over €1.5 billion in the Agriculture sector will ensure rural communities are Brexit-proof, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Chair of the Agriculture Committee, Carlow-Kilkenny TD Pat Deering, said the extra €64 million funding announced for the sector in Budget 2018 will ensure Ireland’s largest indigenous industry is prioritised and will strengthen the sector’s ability to meet the challenges of Brexit. The funding will also give a helping hand to farmers who need it most.
Deputy Deering said: “Today’s Budget is excellent news for farmers and rural communities across Ireland.
“My Fine Gael colleague, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed, will bring forward a comprehensive package of Brexit response measures for 2018 amounting to over €50 million, ensuring a fair chance for Irish farmers.
“The Department will also provide supports for capital investment in the food industry to increase competitiveness, innovation and opportunity, and additional supports for Bord Bia marketing and promotion activities.
“A further €25 million will be provided to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to provide for the development of further Brexit response loan schemes for the agrifood sector.
“These schemes will be developed in 2018 in cooperation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and others and will ensure supports for farmers who need them most.”
Deputy Deering continued: “Rural farming families will also welcome the maintaining of stamp duty relief at 1 per cent for inter-family farm transfers for a further three years to facilitate the intergenerational shift in farm ownership.
“The exemption for young trained farmers from stamp duty on agricultural land transactions continues, giving young farmers a fair chance and help for the future.
“Farmers will also welcome proposals to provide for the leasing of agricultural land for solar panels to be classified as qualifying agricultural activity for the purposes of specific Capital Acquisitions Tax and Capital Gains Tax reliefs.
“This initiative, which is subject to the panels covering no more than 50 per cent of the total farm holding, should support diversification, expand the generation of renewable energy and help tackle climate change.
“Providing opportunities for people and communities in all parts of the county to share in economic recovery is a priority of this Government.
“The Department of Rural and Community Development will also see a €19 million funding boost on existing programmes. This amounts to a 12 per cent increase year on year.
“This will help create the conditions for sustainable rural development and provide local level supports to support vibrant and sustainable rural communities.”