Longford Leader Farming: Macra highlights the need to help young farmers with new Minister

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Macra na Feirme president, Thomas Duffy with CEO, Denis Duggan discussing young farmers' issues with Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue and Minister of States Pippa Hackett & Martin Heydon

Macra na Feirme met with the ministerial team in the Department of Agriculture last week to highlight issues of importance to young farmers.

Speaking after the meeting, Macra na Feirme President, Thomas Duffy said, “Macra na Feirme were delighted to meet with the new Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, T.D and Ministers for State Hackett and Heydon to outline our budget priorities, CAP concerns and Brexit issues.”

The Government recently announced a €15m fund to bridge the digital divide amongst 3rd level students during Covid. Unfortunately, agricultural students and colleges have been excluded from this programme.

Recently, the government announced that some of this €15m fund had been used to mass purchase 17,000 laptops for students in universities and institutes of technology.

President Duffy continued saying “Macra na Feirme highlighted the lack of fairness and equality that is facing students entering and returning to Ireland’s agricultural colleges.

“Macra na Feirme highlighted the unfairness and discrimination that this exclusion puts on agricultural college students. Macra na Feirme have called upon Minister McConalogue and the Department to make the necessary funds available to support agricultural students in equal measure to other students across the 3rd level network.”

For new entrants to farming, the Macra na Feirme President said that “we highlighted the need to ensure that a National Reserve for Young Farmers is created for the coming year. Every year, having a National Reserve Scheme for young farmers is an encouragement for new entrants to farming. It is crucial that the Department open the scheme for 2021.”