Farmer Cormac Browne was pleasantly surprised with Budget 2023.
Last week, he didn’t have high hopes for budget cuts that would make life easier for him and his family.
But with a raft of new measures announced yesterday (Tue) aimed at helping struggling businesses and farmers with their energy bills – in addition to the one-off €600 energy credit for all households – he was far more optimistic last night.
The 43-year-old married father of three runs a dairy farm near Two Mile House in County Kildare with his wife Una, which has been in his family for generations.
Despite the fact that he has three growing children to support, Senan (10), Ella (9) and Connall (15), his biggest concern has been paying the electricity bills for his family and farm.
His household electricity bill alone costs around 350 euros a month and he was shocked when he recently received a monthly bill for the farm for 1,000 euros.
Two years ago he paid around 300 euros a month for electricity for the farm,
“The biggest costs are for electricity for the milking machine and the cooler,” he said of the 70-cow farm.
The only saving grace is that the price of milk has gone up to offset some of its operating costs.
“Otherwise I’d be in trouble,” he told the Irish Independent.
But he said the €1.25 billion Temporary Energy Assistance Scheme (TBESS) announced in the budget would provide grants to qualifying businesses and farms to cover up to 40 per cent of the increase in their gas and electricity bills – up to a cap of € 10,000 a month – would be a huge burden off his shoulders.
“If I qualify for it, it’s very good,” he said.
He also welcomed an extension of excise tax breaks for green diesel until February 2023, which would ease the pressure on his growing diesel bills, which have skyrocketed since the war in Ukraine.
And he also welcomed the announcement of a new grant of up to €90,000 for solar panel installation and equity funding to support anaerobic digestion development in 2023.
“I think that’s a great idea,” he said.
However, he wasn’t as enthusiastic about a 10 percent levy on concrete or concrete products, which he described as “a little disappointing”, nor did he offer more to help farmers offset skyrocketing fertilizer costs . Instead, the government will provide farmers with 8 million euros for spreading lime.
“Fertilizer cost about 380 to 400 euros per ton. Now it’s €1,200 per tonne in less than a year,” he said.
Overall, however, the announced measures are good news.
“I suppose I had my cynical hat on last week, but I was pleasantly surprised,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/dairy-farmer-and-father-of-three-says-hes-pleasantly-surprised-by-budget-2023-42027361.html The dairy farmer and father of three says he’s “pleasantly surprised” by the 2023 budget.