The 2023 budget has 2.14 billion euros in appropriations for the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (department). This allocation is an increase of €283 million over the 2022 budget and the highest funding ever recorded for the department.
Key measures Budget 2023
The most important supports for the agricultural sector result from the 2023 budget:
- Supported more than €218 million for agri-environmental programs including the Agri-Climate Rural Environment program (hectares), which will help up to 50,000 farmers adopt agricultural practices that protect biodiversity and the environment.
- Over €100 million in targeted support for beef and sheep to improve competitiveness and sustainability, mitigate increased input costs and protect animal health and welfare.
- Up to €30m for a feed support scheme and the continuation of the €10m tillage incentive scheme.
- Support for high fertilizer prices through Multi-Species Sward/Red Clover aid schemes and a new €8 million aid scheme to support lime application.
- €37M increase in funding for the Organic Farming Scheme, an 80% increase from 2022 and allowing the program to reopen to new participants.
- An increase in the targeted agricultural modernization program (TAMS) to EUR 90 million to finance planned investments in agricultural renewable energy for farmers (subject to European Commission approval). If approved, this will support a proposed increase to a 60% subsidy rate for solar panels and a €90,000 standalone investment cap for solar installations. As an immediate step, farm housing is now eligible for investment in solar panels as a cost-of-living measure.
- A €13.3 million extension of Farm Environmental Scheme funding and an additional year of funding for the Soil Sampling Program.
- Increased resources and a dedicated budget of €2.5 million for on-farm safety initiatives along with an increased budget of €20 million for research and innovation projects and more funding for government agencies like Teagasc to promote sustainable farming practices.
- A target budget of €12m over the next four years for an anaerobic digestion agricultural sector in Ireland.
- More broadly, the Business Energy Support Scheme will address energy price increases for food businesses, including farmers, allowing payments for electricity bills of up to €10,000 per month.
Funding of the CAP strategic plan
Some of the above measures fall under the forthcoming CAP strategic plan (CSP), which begins in January 2023. As part of its budget 2023 allocation, the ministry will allocate nearly €10 billion to the CSP. More than 500 million euros of this sum will flow specifically into sustainability and environmental protection initiatives.
The 2023 budget also provides for the extension of the following key farm tax breaks, which were due to expire this year:
- The young farmer aid (extended until December 2024);
- Farm Consolidation Stamp Duty Exemption (extended to December 2024);
- The Farm Restructuring Capital Gains Restructuring Tax Relief (extended to December 2024);
- The herd facilitation for young farmers (extended until December 2025); and
- The Registered Agricultural Partnership Stock Relief (extended to December 2025).
In addition, there will be a new accelerated capital allowance for better manure storage and management to protect water quality and reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers.
While the carbon tax rate is set to increase from October 2022, €81 million from the carbon tax fund is to be made available to the ministry to be used to fund the aforementioned ACRES programme.
More broadly, the existing excise tax reductions for fuel and the 9% VAT rate for electricity and gas will be extended until February 28, 2023.
The 2023 budget introduces important support for the agricultural sector. These measures recognize the myriad of challenges currently facing the industry, including rising energy and production costs, along with increasing demands for sustainable agricultural practices and environmental protection legislation.