Number of People Getting Green Cert Agricultural Qualification Takes Post Pandemic Dip - Tóibín
According to data released to the Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD, following a Parliamentary Question, the number of Teagasc graduates attaining trained farmer status has taken a dip since the pandemic. Last year 1,700 certs were issued, compared with 2018 - 2020 when over 2,000 were issued each year.
Speaking in response to the statistics released to him, Deputy Tóibín said:
"Droves of young people from farming families are hitting for Australia each week. The farming way of life isn't attractive to them - due to the poor price for beef, the rising input costs like fertiliser and so on. An awful lot of farmers currently feel trapped in the sector - farmers who the government encouraged to get into dairy, who are now being threatened with talk of a cull of the national herd, and punished with carbon taxes".
Deputy Tóibín continued: "We have a shocking situation in the beef sector, with the threat of Mercosur looming, and ill-behaved factories and beef barons. Some farmers feel trapped there too - having been encouraged by the factories to increase their herds, with higher prices per beast dangled infront of them only to find the price dropping, as soon as they are in debt with renting land, and they're in so much debt that they cannot back out".
"Young lads and girls up and down the country are witnessing late night arguments between their parents over rising farm debts, and they're opting to get as far away from this country as they can. It is heart-breaking - especially for families who've had the farm for multiple generations. It’s not surprising to me to see such a drop in the number of green certs issued - between 2018 and last year a drop of 1,000 certs. These statistics don't even show the full scale of the problem of youth emigration among young farmers - because many are getting the qualification before they leave for inheritance tax reasons. Aontú is calling on the government to properly examine the rate of youth emigration from farming families, and for the government to determine also the suicide rate among farmers. We have a Bill seeking a ban on the below cost sale of beef, which would ensure that farmers get at least a break-even price for their produce. The government must support this legislation", concluded Tóibín.