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Minister Coughlan raises Income Limit for Transferees in Farm Retirement Scheme; Limit for retiring farmers abolished

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, said today that she was raising the off-farm income limit for transferees under the Scheme of Early Retirement from Farming from the current level of €25,400 to €40,000. The Minister also said that she was doing away with the total income limit for retiring farmers. Heretofore, an income limit exemption for retiring farmers existed only in cases where the farm was transferred definitively to a family member. The changes are effective from 1 September, 2006.

Both income limits have been in place since the current Scheme was launched in November, 2000. Minister Coughlan said her decision reflected changes in farming and in the wider economy since then. "We need to recognise how widespread part-time farming has become and the vital contribution of off-farm income in supporting viable farm units in many cases," the Minister said. "The Early Retirement Scheme is a mechanism to promote the earlier handover of farms to the next generation, and to do that effectively it has to keep pace with the realities of present-day farming."

The current Scheme closes to new applications at the end of the year and a new scheme will be introduced as soon as the Rural Development Plan 2006-13 is approved by the European Commission.

5 September, 2006

Date Released: 05 September 2006