Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Fine Gael TD for Meath West, Damien English, has said that Basic Farm Payments of almost €44.5 million paid so far in 2015, are supporting Meath farmers.
“In Meath, 3,483 farmers have received Basic Farm Payments so far in 2015, making up 95.9% of payments. In 2016, €1.2 billion in direct funding will be made available from the EU to fund the Basic Payment Scheme nationally.
“This money is essential to support agriculture and farming families in Meath. Basic Farm Payments are also key to supporting the local economy as farmers can spend this money with local suppliers and in small businesses.
“The food industry in Ireland is worth €26 billion and directly employs 170,000 people. Farmers are at the centre of this and it is essential that we offer every support possible. For two successive budgets farming agri-taxation measures have played a central part in the Budget.
“Major new initiatives on ‘Family Transfer Partnerships’ have been introduced to assist in the transfer of land. We have also renewed relief measures on general stock income tax; for young trained farmers and registered farm partnerships. Stamp duty exemptions have been maintained on transfers of land to young trained farmers. This Government has also increased the tax free threshold for Capital Acquisitions Tax by about one quarter from €225,000 to €280,000.
“Changes made to the taxation of the self-employed will impact on most farmers who will benefit from the new €550 tax credit and reduced USC rates. These changes will mean over €800 in additional net income.
“In 2016, €494 million has been ring-fenced for the Rural Development Programme, a 12% increase; €195 million for Areas of Natural Constraint (ANCs); €35.8 million for TAMS, €52 million for the Beef Data Genomics Programme and €203 million for Agri–Environment Schemes including GLAS, AEOS and ORGANICS.
“This Government has prioritised agriculture and makes no apology for that. The agri-food sector has been essential in driving the recovery and is playing a major role as we work to keep the recovery going in Meath and in all parts of the country.”