The 2024 budget for the nation was announced on 10/10/2023 which included measures for the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine.
Minister Charlie McConalogue stated that the budget prioritises safeguarding the incomes of farmers and fishers. The budget allocates €1.942 billion to the department, adjusting for the discontinuation of over €240 million in Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) funding, primarily spent in the fisheries sector and now being sustained through national funds.
The budget reaffirms commitment to beef and sheep farmers, with over €113 million in targeted support and a special payment for sheep farmers. It also dedicates more than €700 million to address climate, biodiversity, and water quality challenges in 2024.
The budget features several schemes, including the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES), which receives a €40 million increase to support climate and environmental initiatives. Additionally, the Organic Farming Scheme is allocated €57 million to expand organic production.
Forestry programs receive a substantial allocation of €110 million for 2024, emphasising tree-planting and addressing ash dieback issues. The Seafood and Coastal Communities sector continues to receive support, aiming to ensure its transformation and economic growth. Research and development efforts will benefit from an additional €2 million in funding.
Agri-taxation measures are introduced to support land transfer, farm safety, and environmental sustainability, while supporting farmers in generational renewal. These measures complement the budget’s focus on promoting the sustainability and prosperity of the farm, food, and fishing sectors.
The agri-taxation package, outlined by Minister Michael McGrath, T.D., complements the overall budget by offering key incentives to Irish farmers. These measures support the transfer of land to the next generation, with a particular emphasis on protecting active farmers. The Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) deferral provides active farmers the opportunity to engage with the process and seek land de-zoning, aligning taxation policy with generational renewal and environmental sustainability.
Long-term land leasing relief is modified to ensure it is only available to genuine farmers who have owned the land for seven years, reducing speculation and supporting long-term lease arrangements. The renewal of Stamp Duty Consanguinity Relief encourages the lifetime transfer of farms, contributing to generational renewal in the agricultural sector.
The budget also extends Accelerated Capital Allowances for Slurry Storage, promoting the responsible management of agricultural waste. The Wear and Tear Allowances for Farm Safety Equipment, introduced in 2021, accelerates capital allowances to encourage the use of safety equipment on farms.
Minister McConalogue emphasised that the farm, food, and fishing sectors are pivotal to the well-being of rural and coastal communities, fostering economic growth and employment across the economy. The budget aims to continue supporting these vital sectors in their quest for sustainability and prosperity.
In conclusion, the 2024 budget for the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine underlines a commitment to protecting the livelihoods of farmers and fishers, while simultaneously addressing environmental and climate challenges, ensuring generational renewal, and promoting the long-term well-being of these crucial industries.
An overview of measures included in the 2024 budget are summarised as follows:
· €20/ewe and €200 /cow secured.
· Over €100m in supports for Beef and Sheep sectors (€200/cow; €20/ewe).
· Over €700 million in funding in 2024 for agri-environment initiatives.
· Higher rate of TAMS grant (70%) for new tanks for those importing slurry.
· New separate TAMS investment ceiling for slurry storage tanks.
· Accelerated Capital Allowances on Slurry Storage continued.
· €8m in targeted support for Tillage farmers.
· Key agri-taxation supports secured and land leasing targeted at active farmers.
· Expanding ACRES to accommodate the full 50k participants promised under the CSP.
· Schemes for soil sampling and multi species swards.
· €57m allocation to support Organic farmers.
· €110m in funding provided to drive ambitions of the Forestry Programme.
· €6.5m dairy beef scheme.
· €5m funding for the genotyping programme.
· Research & Development funding of more than €22m, in addition to support for Teagasc and the Marine Institute.
· Continued support for coastal communities through investment in fisheries harbours and community piers.
· €8m for capital investment in the food sector.
· €14.35 million to support the National Strategy for Horticulture.
· Continued support for State agencies supporting our Agri food and fisheries sectors.