Crippling farming overheads will be made worse by new tractor and agricultural trailer regulations, which will also be a major stumbling block for those entering farming.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil Tuam candidate Nora Fahy, who has condemned new regulations from the Department of Transport. The regulations deal with weights, lighting, braking, and coupling of agricultural trailers, and will be in place in June.
However, while many older farmers already have an amnesty in place if they renewed their old driving licences, the new regulations will hit younger farmers and add to increased costs.
The regulations mean younger farmers will have to sit theory tests, apply for new licences, and possibly get lessons which, Ms Fahy said, will “substantially increase costs” for a sector “which is already struggling to survive”.
Ms Fahy gave the example of farmer Padraic Connelly from Turlough, Ballymoe, who believes that the new regulations will cost farmers in the region of €200. The 42-year-old organic suckler beef and sheep farmer said the regulations would impact most on farmers aged between 35 and 45.
Ms Fahy is calling for an amnesty for younger farmers as “the new regulations will serve as an impediment for people entering the profession”.