Young Farmers Scheme & National Reserve 2017 Now Open For Applications from Carlow – Deering

29th March, 2017

The Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Fine Gael Carlow TD, Pat Deering T.D. has today welcomed the announcement of the opening of the online system for submission of applications to both the National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme in 2017.

Deputy Deering said “The National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme are key measures in encouraging and facilitating the entrance of young persons, into the farming sector and I welcome the measure which benefits young farmers in Carlow”.

As previously announced by my college the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, just over €5 million has been provided in funding for the National Reserve in 2017 following a linear cut to the value of all Basic Payment Scheme entitlements. This amount is equivalent to the amount of unspent funds under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2015 which was added to the Basic Payment Scheme financial ceiling.

Deering added “The EU regulations governing the operation of the National Reserve provide for priority access to the mandatory categories of ‘Young Farmer’ and ‘New Entrant to Farming’. Successful applicants from Carlow, to the National Reserve receive an allocation of entitlements at the National Reserve National Average value or a top-up to the national average value of entitlements. The National Reserve in 2017 will be targeted specifically at educated young farmers and new entrants to farming who fulfil specific objective criteria.

The Young Farmers Scheme is a separate scheme with just over €24 million in funding available each year from 2015 to 2019. The scheme provides an additional payment to successful applicants per activated entitlement.

Applications under the 2017 National Reserve and Young Farmers scheme must be submitted using the online facility available at http://agfood.ie/. The full Terms and Conditions of both schemes is available on the Department’s website at www.agriculture.gov.ie

Deputy Deering concluded “the 2017 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme offer an opportunity to build on the huge success in supporting the regeneration of agriculture in Ireland and across Carlow since 2015 and which has seen well over 6,000 young farmers and new entrants benefit from Direct Payment measures to help underpin the agriculture sector in Ireland in the coming years.”

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Definition of ‘Young Farmer’:

To qualify as a ‘young farmer’ an applicant must meet the following conditions:

S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;

S/he is no more than 40 years of age during the calendar year in which s/he submits an application under the Basic Payment Scheme;

S/he is setting up an agricultural holding for the first time or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of the Basic Payment Scheme application.

Definition of ‘New Entrant to Farming’

A ‘new entrant to farming’ is defined as:

S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;

S/he must have commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2015 calendar year or any later year;

S/he did not have any agricultural activity in his/her own name and at his/her own risk in the five years preceding the start of the present agricultural activity;

S/he must submit an application for the Basic Payment Scheme not later than two years after the calendar year in which s/he completed the agricultural activity.

Other eligibility criteria

Applicants will be required to have successfully completed a recognised agricultural education course giving rise to an award at FETAC Level 6 or its equivalent by the 15th May 2017.

Successful candidates under the National Reserve will also be required to have an off-farm income of less than €40,000 in either of the 2015 or 2016 tax years. There is no off-farm income limit for the Young Farmers Scheme.