Budget reaction: Ifac describes Budget as a 'missed opportunity' for the farming sector

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Budget reaction: Ifac describes Budget as a 'missed opportunity' for the farming sector

John Donoghue

John Donoghue, CEO of Ifac the professional services firm for the Irish farming, food and agribusiness sector said that Budget 2019 was in many ways a missed opportunity for to the Irish farming sector.

While there were some measures that were welcome, such as the extension of income averaging, overall there was a strong sense in the sector of an opportunity missed, he said.

Mr Donoghue said that 2018 was an enormously challenging year for farmers.

"With the combination of severe weather conditions, the fodder crisis, price and income volatility, spiralling costs and a major cash-flow squeeze across the board, farmers have had a very difficult year.

"There had been some optimism that a significant package of supports would be announced in the budget today to help the sector face into 2019, a year many anticipate will be one of the most challenging yet with Brexit and CAP reform on the horizon. No such package was delivered and farmers are understandably concerned about the future," he said.

Sean O’Donnell, partner in ifac’s Tipperary office said: “At ifac we have been providing financial advice to farming families for over 40 years.  We know exactly how difficult 2018 has been for them because we are working with farmers every day, providing sound advice and guiding financial decision making.

"For the sake of the many farm families who are struggling to keep their businesses afloat in the current climate, we hope some additional pro farm measures will be included in the Finance Bill later this month.

"With an estimated 1 in every 7 jobs outside of Dublin supported by the farming sector this is a part of the economy that now more than ever deserves special attention and should be robustly supported to ensure that it remains resilient in the face of significant economic uncertainty.”