Budget 2015 response: Tax measures to support Agriculture

The Environmental Pillar welcomes a number of tax measures that will benefit farmers and farming communities but warns that increases in productivity must not come at the cost of Ireland’s biodiversity.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan highlighted the importance of land availability for young farmers wishing to expand in the industry and will provide Irish farmers under the age of 40 with a 25% top-up of their payment over a five year period.
These investments in the agricultural sector will bring numerous financial and social benefits to rural communities around the country. However, the means by which these investments are carried out is crucial to the maintenance of ecosystems and the services they provide. Natural ecosystems provide us with vital services such as pollination, biological pest control, maintenance of soil structure and fertility, nutrient cycling, hydrological services and carbon sequestration.
“Although the value of these ecosystem services is vital to agriculture, they are often under appreciated. It is important that an increase in agricultural productivity does not lead to loss of wildlife, nutrient run-off, sedimentation of waterways and an increase in carbon emissions,” says Cillian Lohan of the Environmental Pillar.
Therefore, with increased productivity on the agenda for Irish farmers, appropriate agricultural management practices are critical for maintaining overall benefits for both the environment and agricultural sectors.