Funding, livestock restrictions and inflation concerns all emerged as serious concerns over a proposed farm pension program to reduce emissions.
he proposal is part of a set of measures put forward by a high-level dairy industry committee to stabilize and then reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.
A meeting of the Dairy Vision Group last week generated a lot of comments and interest from the Retirement section.
“From the calls we’ve had and the kind of open discussions we’ve had access to, I think immediately after establishing that it would be voluntary, the next question would be: how will this be funded? And certainly, as far as we are concerned, funding will have to be external to existing farmer funding, said ICMSA Group Chairman Pat McCormack.
“In other words, funding will have to come from the just transition side and in no case can be generated by cuts from Pillar I or Pillar II,” he added.
McCormack also said he would look closely at the breeding restriction timelines.
“At what stage will the land be eligible for agriculture and what type of agriculture will be approved? For example, if a farmer takes voluntary retirement, can a son or daughter return to milking cows after five years or at any time? What period does the “retirement” cover?
Taxation is another key area where question marks remain over the proposal.
“There should also be detailed and specific integration with the existing and proposed tax measures so that, particularly around leasing, there is an articulation with the CGT and the CAT and that you do not have a situation where the tax measures make taking the option of retirement impossible or simply too cumbersome,” he said.
McCormack added that the pension plan should be indexed. “Last year has again shown that a single period of sustained inflation can seriously erode fixed regular payments, so some thought should be given.”