‘We shouldn’t have farmers forced to farm into the 70’s’: Martin Heydon

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According to Martin Heydon, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, an early retirement scheme may not be the easy solution to preventing industrial accidents among older farmers.

peak on the Independent Farming On agricultural security, the minister said that while “we shouldn’t have farmers forced to farm past the age of 70”, it was “easy to say” that there should be a pension scheme. “I can see it myself, when you’re in your 70’s and you stand in front of that freshly calved cow, you’re just as quick in your head as you were 10 years ago, but you can get caught and it’s a terrible thing that happens.

“We shouldn’t have farmers who have to farm until that age. If they want, that’s one thing, but they don’t always want to.”

The minister responsible for agricultural safety said there were lessons to be learned from the previous early retirement scheme. “People almost felt like criminals when you saw them walking across the yard with a bucket. They were afraid someone would report them.

“For me, succession affects younger farmers. We need younger farmers who are involved earlier. The average age of our farmers is 57 – that is much too high. For that to happen [for more younger people to be involved earlier] it has to work for the younger person too.”

The minister said changes to long-term leasing make it more attractive to younger farmers who may not have access to a sustainable amount of land. “Some farmers want to continue farming, but some farmers have no obvious successor.

“In some cases, the apparent successor isn’t willing to take over, for example, a beef company that doesn’t make a lot of money, so that succession might not happen.”

He said future supply and finances are a real concern for older farmers too.

“There’s a concern that if you make that decision to pass this on to the next generation, you’ll be taken care of? If that son or daughter or niece or nephew takes over and they are single but then get married, what changes will that bring about later?

“These are considerations that farmers usually don’t discuss so early on.”

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/we-shouldnt-have-farmers-having-to-farm-into-their-70s-martin-heydon-41914586.html ‘We shouldn’t have farmers forced to farm into the 70’s’: Martin Heydon

Fry Electronics Team

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