• Pippa Hackett

13% Budget increase for Agriculture

Supports for farm families dealing with rising input costs in Budget 2023

Up to €500 million in funding in 2023 for agri-environment initiatives

Additional Fodder Supports to be provided in 2022




Press Release


Summary

  • Up to €500m to fund the roll out of the new CAP Strategic Plan to support farm investment and encourage climate and biodiversity action.

  • More than €100 million in supports to improve competitiveness and sustainability in the beef and sheep sectors.

  • Up to €30m for a fodder support scheme, to be paid in December 2022.

  • Support to offset high fertiliser prices through grant aid schemes for Multi Species Swards and red Clover as well as new €8m Liming Scheme.

  • €10m in supports to encourage maintenance and new planting in the Tillage Sector.

  • Business Energy Support Scheme will address energy price increases for food businesses, including farmers.

  • New loan schemes to benefit farmers, fishers and food businesses.

  • More than €218m for Agri Environment schemes, including ACRES and Locally Led Schemes.

  • A 12% increase to €112m to fund the new National Forestry Programme, which is currently being finalised.

  • A record level of funding for the organic farming scheme of €37m.

  • An increase in TAMS to €90m to fund the proposed increase to 60% grant rate for and a standalone investment ceiling of €90,000 for solar panels on farms next year

  • Key agri-taxation supports secured.

  • New tax measure for better slurry storage and management, to protect water quality and reduce dependence on chemical fertilisers.

  • Unprecedented support for fishing sector and coastal communities of €335m – a 62% increase in funding from 2022

  • Research budget increased to €20m to deliver the evidence-base for tackling the challenges faced by the sector.

  • Increased resources for farm safety including a dedicated budget of €2.5m.

  • Continued support for State agencies supporting our agri food and fisheries sectors and the strategic development of our equine sector and the improvement of traceability and welfare standards in our greyhound racing sector.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, today announced details of his department’s 2023 Budget. The 2023 Estimates provide a gross Vote of €2.14 billion for the department. This is the highest ever level of funding for the department, and represents an increase of €283m on the 2022 provision, or a 13% increase overall, to support farmers, fishers, and rural and coastal communities.


Commenting on the allocations to her areas of responsibility, Minister of State with responsibility for land use and biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett said:

“This is a difficult time for many across the country, and farm families and farm businesses too are feeling the pressures of the current cost of living crisis. The Government is committed to supporting them through this period of uncertainty over the coming winter and into 2023 - and this budget does that.”
“The budget contains up to €500m in funding specifically ringfenced for agri-environment schemes.”
“In my own areas of responsibility, I am delighted to have secured the largest ever budget for organic farming. Funding for this Scheme has been increased to €37 million - an 80% increase on last year as we work towards our target of tripling the area of land under organic production by the end of 2027. Organic farming delivers for climate, biodiversity, water quality and animal welfare – so I am delighted that the sector now has the financial backing it needs to grow and thrive over the coming years.”
“I’ve also secured increased funding for forestry, so that we can build on the ongoing work to reform our forestry system since this Government took office. This work is by no means finished, and we are currently finalising a new Forest Strategy and a new Forestry Programme for Ireland, which will see supports for a closer to nature model of forestry.”
“We have also secured substantial funding for locally-led environmental schemes, to just under €18m. This will fund a large-scale water quality scheme on farms, as well as a new call for new EIPs in Q1 2023 on biodiversity, climate, rural environment, and farm safety.”
“I am particularly pleased to see a €13.3m Extension of the Farm Environmental Scheme, as well as funding for the Soil Sampling Scheme for another year.”

Speaking this afternoon, Minister McConalogue said:

“This budget supports farm families dealing with the immediate and ongoing fallout of the illegal invasion of Ukraine. It also lays the groundwork for strategic supports for the sector over the next five years, through the new €10 billion CAP Strategic Plan (CSP).
“The Budget delivers large-scale funding to drive the sector’s environmental ambition, helping improve both on-farm sustainability as well as farmer incomes. I have secured up to €500m in 2023 to support farmers in their efforts to tackle the challenges in climate, biodiversity and water quality. This is real money for real farm families. The measures include funding for 30,000 places in a new flagship agri environment scheme, ACRES.

“This is largest ever agri-environment scheme ever run by my Department. Using a habitats-based approach, delivered through both prescription and results-based actions, ACRES will contribute to improving biodiversity, climate, air and water quality outcomes.”

Minister McConalogue also referred to a range of other measures to support environmental action at farm level:

“I am introducing an €8m grant aid scheme to support the spreading of lime as well as an enhanced Multi Species Sward / Red Clover scheme. These will help farmers deal with rising fertiliser prices and move towards the reduction of chemical fertiliser.
“I have also secured an increase in the TAMS budget to €90m, to fund the proposed large-scale investment in on-farm renewables for farmers, subject to the approval of the European Commission. There will be an increase in TAMS funding to €90m, and this will help fund the proposed increase to 60% grant rate and a standalone investment ceiling of €90,000 for solar installation. As an immediate step, farm dwellings are now eligible for inclusion for solar panel investments.”

An amendment to the RDP will be submitted to the European Commission for approval in the coming weeks.


The Minister also said that he would be allocating €3m for each of the next four years, a total of €12m, to kick-start a farm-based anaerobic Digestion sector in Ireland. Referring to this initiative he said:

“The establishment of a renewable heat obligation will be critical to the success of this initiative, and I am working closely in partnership with the Minister for Environment, Climate Action and Communications to realise the potential of this sector.”

Separately, the Minister said that he would be seeking EU Commission approval for a new scheme to continue the beef welfare measures which were previously funded under BEEP-S. This new scheme will sit alongside the new €150/cow Suckler Carbon Efficiency Scheme, and a €20 million Sheep Welfare Scheme, to support farm incomes and encourage improved environmental and animal welfare outcomes.


Minister McConalogue said:

“I continue to stand by our beef and sheep farmers. I am pleased to maintain the budget for targeted beef and sheep supports of over €100 million. This funding will help to alleviate the impact of increased input costs; while also supporting animal health and welfare, and further improving the carbon efficiency of our grass-based and quality assured beef and lamb.

“Beef and sheep farmers will also be well placed to benefit from the enhanced supports for fodder aid, for environmental measures and the supports available for farmers transitioning to organic farming.
“I am also excited about seeing the continuation of the €10m Tillage Incentive Scheme in 2023. The tillage sector is one that I believe in and I want to see it grow in the time ahead.”

Seafood and coastal communities


Commenting on the record Budget provision for the seafood sector and coastal communities for 2023 of €335 million, Minister McConalogue said:

“Today’s €335m budget announcement for the seafood sector and coastal communities is the largest ever annual budget provision for the sector. Over the past year I have announced a range of schemes worth €225 million, funded under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, designed to support the seafood sector and coastal communities in overcoming the impact of Brexit. These schemes will run for the remainder of this year and for 2023 and the budget provision that the Government is making today will enable these schemes to be fully delivered. The schemes reflect the recommendations of the Seafood Task Force, which I established, and which are designed to ensure that the seafood sector and coastal communities post Brexit will continue to generate economic growth and sustainable jobs in coastal communities. Having listened to fishing representatives, and at their request, I established an enhanced tie-up scheme worth an extra €12m for this year to help alleviate the marine fuel pressures facing fishers. This Budget will include supports for energy costs for seafood processors.”

Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Innovation, Farm Safety, and New Market Development Martin Heydon TD said:

“The war in Ukraine has had a major impact on farmers’ production costs, particularly feed, fuel, and fertiliser. Budget 2023 delivers further support to the sector to respond to these challenges and protect food production.
It marks another step on farmers’ climate and environmental journey too. I have strengthened the Department’s research fund to €20m to maintain a steady pipeline of climate solutions for the sector in the coming years as we implement the science and technology that is available to us today.
I have also prioritised extra resources for farm safety, increasing the dedicated budget to €2.5m. In addition to a further rollout of our farmer health and wellbeing programme On Feirm Ground, I intend to focus on getting more physical safety investments onto farms.”

Agri-taxation measures


Referring to the agri taxation package that complemented his Department’s vote spending, Minister McConalogue added:

“I am delighted that we could agree a new Accelerated Capital Allowance for Slurry Storage. This will help drive further improvements in slurry storage and management as water quality coupled with improved nutrient-use efficiency and reduce dependence on expensive artificial fertilisers. Ultimately, this will help reduce emissions. This measure is a strong signal of this Government’s commitment to supporting farmers in improving environmental sustainability; and I urge farmers to make use of the three-year window agreed for this initiative, which will be available from 2023 to 2025.”
“We have also agreed on the renewal of vital tax reliefs including Stamp Duty Relief for Young Trained Farmers and Stock Relief. Generational renewal is critical to the future of the agri-food sector and national taxation measures, together with the support available under the CAP, represent a substantial commitment to young farmers.
“I want to continue to facilitate the transfer of land and holdings on to the next generation in a manner than works for all parties. The renewal of Capital Gains Tax Relief for Farm Restructuring and Stamp Duty Relief for Farm Consolidation encourage the consolidation of farm holdings, reducing fragmentation and improving the operation and viability of farms.
“The Government has provided welcome supports in response to the current cost of living crisis. The continuation of the reduction of excise duty on agricultural diesel to nil is merited and will alleviate costs for the sector.”

The Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme will provide important support farmers and food businesses. Qualifying businesses, whose average unit gas or electricity price has risen by over 50% compared to their average unit price in 2021, can apply to Revenue for a cash payment, which will be calculated as 40% of the excess of the 2022 bill over the 2021 bill, capped at €10,000 per month per business. This is a really significant measure which will be of direct and rapid practical support to farmers and food businesses at a time of escalating costs.


Access to finance


Minister McConalogue added:

“Access to finance is a crucial business need and, as well as liaising with the main banks on issues relating to the agri-food sector, I have worked closely with the Tánaiste & Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Minister Donohoe on this issue. This partnership has yielded important supports for food businesses, farmers and fishers, through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), to ensure that they have had access to finance to help deal with the unprecedented challenges which have arisen over recent years.”
“I am happy to announce with the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment (DETE) the development of a new long-term lending scheme. This will ensure that there is an appropriate option available to SMEs, including farmers, fishers and food businesses, to access finance for strategic investment purposes. The agri food sector has a demonstrated capacity to plan for the long term even while grappling with more immediate challenges and the new proposed €500 million ‘Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme’ (GSLS) will facilitate strategic investment by farmers, fishers and food businesses which will ensure their continued viability and sustainability into the future.
“We are also working together on a Ukraine Credit Guarantee Scheme to assist businesses, including farmers, fishers and food businesses in meeting their liquidity and investment needs, especially in this time of economic uncertainty”.

Concluding, Minister McConalogue said:

“I am acutely aware of the challenges facing farm families, food businesses and coastal communities at present. We are living in uncertain times, but we need our farm families and fishers producing safe, sustainable, and high-quality food more than ever. I will continue to back them in doing that.”

Key features of the budget include:


Up to €500 million in funding specifically ringfenced for agri-environment including:

· €200m to allow 30,000 new farmer participants into the ACRES scheme next year, the largest agri-environment scheme ever announced;

- A 12% increase in the forestry budget to €112m to fund the new National Forestry Programme to be unveiled later in the autumn;

- A record level of funding for the organic farming scheme of €37m which is an 80% increase on last year to allow for the re-opening of the scheme this autumn for new participants;

- Substantial budget secured for locally-led environmental schemes to just under €18m to fund a large-scale water scheme on farms and to fund a new call for new EIPS in Q1 2023 on biodiversity, climate, rural environment and farm safety;

- An increase in the TAMs budget to €90m to fund the proposed large-scale investment in on-farm renewables for farmers, subject to the approval of the European Commission. This will fund the proposed increase to 60% grant rate and a standalone investment ceiling of €90,000 for renewables. As an immediate step, farm dwellings are now eligible for inclusion for solar panel investments as a cost-of-living measure;

- Funding of €13.3m Extension of the Farm Environmental Scheme and the Soil Sampling Scheme for another year

- A targeted budget of €3m for investment in pilot anaerobic digestion investment

- The increase in the research budget to €20 million boosts support for the funding of research and innovation projects, with a new National Call due in 2023. The additional funding will build and enhance previous research to deliver an evidence-base for the challenges faced by the sector.

- Increased funding for State Agencies including Teagasc for the specific purpose of advising and working with farmers to improve farm sustainability.

The dedicated Farm Safety Budget has been increased to €2.5m. Among the initiatives for 2023 will be an expansion of On Feirme Ground to Private Veterinary Practitioners and a development of a resource on best practice for animal handling units and calving pens.


Targeted beef and sheep supports of €105 million – aimed at improving genomic performance (Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme) and measures aimed at improving animal health and welfare - the Sheep Improvement Programme, and welfare measures for beef and dairy beef calves - will support the reduction of emissions intensity for participating herds and flocks.