Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary says a number of measures contained in the Finance Bill will have a detrimental impact on farmers in the county. The Bill must be amended to reflect the changing face of Irish farming, or risk destroying viable businesses.
Deputy Calleary commented, “Section 74 of the Finance Bill, which defines an “active farmer” as one who spends more than 50% of their working time on the farm, is unrealistic and unworkable for many farmers, particularly younger ones. If enacted in its current form, it will act as a major deterrent for the new generation of farmers. Many farmers in Mayo have to work outside of their farms to make ends meet. The Teagasc National farm survey shows that nearly 30% of all farmers have an off farm income, whilst over 43% of suckler farmers have an off farm income.
“If this Bill is not amended, many part-time farmers in Mayo will be excluded from the reduced stamp duty rates. This could see many younger farmers losing out because they are unable to pay the high tax rates associated with taking on the farms from their parents or other relatives. The Finance Bill requires active farmers to spend more than 50% of their working time on their farms, however the changing farming landscape has made it a necessity for many farmers to also have full-time off-farm job to generate a sustainable income.
“It is extremely important that the Finance Bill does not discriminate against genuine part-time farmers, who because of the Government’s failure to invest in agriculture and support farming communities, are forced to take on outside work to make a living.
“At a time when the dairy industry should be expanding in preparation for the ending of milk quotas in March of next year, this definition will penalise the next generation of farmers. Beef farmers are already facing intolerable price pressures and this latest restriction will add to the financial pressure facing farmers.
“Fianna Fáil will be tabling an amendment to the Bill, which will protect genuine part-time farmers from excessive stamp duty payments”.