The government has been warned to implement its climate rhetoric by pumping new money into the agricultural sector in the 2023 budget.
After weeks of listening to “experts tell us the livestock sector is the biggest problem” in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions profile, the country’s farming organizations insist next month’s budget must provide “security and stability” within the farm gates.
In the pre-presentation of the IFA budget, President Tim Cullinan called for several concrete measures, external funding diverted solely from the CAP to promote sustainability on farms – from an economic, social and environmental perspective.
The IFA is proposing new support schemes for rooftop solar and anaerobic digestion to be funded by the Environment Ministry, not agriculture. Its submission states: “Solar panel financing is permitted under the existing TAMS, a key incentive to encourage installations and expand our renewable energy sources.
“As most of the benefits accrue to other sectors, the IFA is calling for the establishment of a new ‘Rooftop Solar Scheme’ and a new ‘Anaerobic Digestion Support Scheme’ funded by the Department for Environment, Climate and Communications.
“This needs to be separated from Tams to support increased investment in renewable energy sources. There are currently no specific allocations for solar panels or anaerobic digestion under the recently announced €8 billion Home Energy Upgrade Scheme.
“Most of the emission reductions from solar panels and anaerobic digestion will go to other sectors, not agriculture. Therefore, these initiatives should be funded by the departments whose sector benefits from the emissions.”
The IFA also aims to continue existing agricultural tax measures to support sustainable growth, asset transfers from agricultural activities and balanced rural development for at least the next three years.
He also stresses the need for all temporary flexible arrangements and maximum allowable co-financing under the EU Contingency Crisis Reserve, the CAP and allocations from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve to be used to combat the current working capital crisis.
ICMSA President Pat McCormack said: “We have heard enough ‘soft words’ about the Government’s desire to help Irish agriculture make the transition to more sustainability. The 2023 Budget needs to show a real commitment to align policies with this often-proclaimed sentiment.”
The ICMSA aims to introduce a tool to manage income volatility called the Family Farm Fairness Mechanism, the basic concept of which is that in a good year a farmer can set aside funds tax-free for use in a future year when the farm income is under pressure.
ICMSA says “it is important” that all Less devices are exempt from VAT when purchased to encourage the adoption of these littering techniques; that a rebate system will be introduced for farmers using proprietary urea; and the VAT reduction should also be applied to all renewable energy products.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/farming-news/budget-must-fund-farming-climate-initiatives-say-farm-bodies-41914581.html The budget must fund agricultural climate protection initiatives, say agricultural institutions