Applications to National Reserve 2021 to open in February

Applications will open for the National Reserve 2021 next month (February), according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Following consultation between the department and the Direct Payments Advisory Committee, comprising members of the main farming bodies and agricultural advisory services, provision is being made for applications in 2021.

The EU regulations underpinning the operation of the National Reserve provide for priority access to the mandatory categories of ‘Young Farmer’ and ‘New Entrant to Farming’.

Successful applicants to the National Reserve receive an allocation of entitlements at national average value or a top-up to the national average value on entitlements that are below the national average.

Details on applications

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said: “The securing of the National Reserve for 2021 is a very important step in supporting the most productive and ambitious farmers in the country.

“Giving priority access to ‘young farmers’ and ‘new entrants’ ensures that we are continuing to support and encourage generational renewal in our sector.”

Full details of the operation of the scheme, including terms and conditions, will be available when the scheme opens for online applications in February 2021 to coincide with the opening of online Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications.

The closing date for receipt of applications under the scheme will be May 17, 2021.

While the detailed terms and conditions of the National Reserve for 2021 will be made available when the schemes launch for online applications in February, it is expected that the terms and conditions will be consistent with those that applied in recent years.

Young Farmers

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

  • S/he is participating in the BPS 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 first submits an application under the BPS;
  • 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 BPS application.

New entrants

A ‘new entrant to farming’ is defined as:

  • S/he is participating in the BPS in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he must have commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2019 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.