Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for Midlands-Northwest, said bad government policy should not stop young people from starting a career in farming.
To support young farmers in Ireland, the MEP will ask the European Commission to engage with the Irish government to address its “lack of ambition for generational renewal” in the industry.
MEP MacManus, who is also a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, expressed his support for Macra na Feirme’s recent call for government action in support of young farmers.
The European Commission has observed that Ireland is one of only three member states that allocate the minimum amount of 3% of their initial direct payments to young farmers, according to Macra na Feirme chairman John Keane.
Commenting on the recently published summary observations by the European Commission on the proposed strategic plan for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), MEP MacManus said:
“Farming is hard and physical work and the age profile of farmers will play a role in workplace injuries. Until farmers are ready to retire, we need to properly encourage partnerships with farmers and prepare young people to take on these responsibilities. »
However, the trend in the evolution of the average age of farmers is “not positive”, according to the MEP.
The Teagasc National Farm Survey released earlier this week, according to MEP MacManus, shows the average age of farmers has risen from 55 to 59 since 2016.
Commenting on the next generation of farmers, MEP MacManus said: “These bright young people are learning the latest science and technology at agricultural colleges across the country, and this knowledge will energize the sector.
“They are also starting their careers at a time when responding to climate change is a natural part of how we build a sustainable future for the sector.”
MEP MacManus added that involving young farmers is a win for the environment and will help achieve even higher food standards for Irish citizens.