There is a varied spread in the numbers of young farmers applying for supports under the 2018 National Reserve and 2018 Young Farmers Scheme (YFS) by county.

The total number of farmer applicants for the 2018 Young Farmers Scheme is 9,371, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The department compiled the figures in a county-by-county breakdown, having been asked to do so by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed in response to a parliamentary question submitted by Fianna Fail spokesperson for agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

National Reserve

Under the 2018 National Reserve, Co. Mayo had the largest number of applicants per county, with 106 applications sent in. This was closely followed by Co. Cork, with 101 submissions.

Co. Galway wraps up the top three with 96 applicant farmers. There is a large gulf of some 40 farmers between third and fourth most populous counties, with Tipperary next on 56.

Just three farmers in Co. Dublin applied to the National Reserve in 2018, making it the county with the fewest applications submitted. This was followed by Co. Carlow, with six submissions, and Co. Louth, with eight submissions.

The EU Regulations governing the operation of the National Reserve provide for support for the two mandatory priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’, according to the department.

Successful applicants receive an allocation of new entitlements from the National Reserve on the basis of one entitlement for one hectare at the National Average value of entitlements.

Applicants who already hold existing entitlements which are below the national average value receive a top-up whereby the value of those entitlements will be increased to the national average value.

The maximum number of entitlements and/or top ups allocated is 90.

Young Farmer Scheme

In the figures for the Young Farmers Scheme, the largest number of applicants by county was from Co. Cork, with a total of 1,137 applicants.

Meanwhile, counties Galway and Mayo emerged as second and third most populous counties respectively, with 864 and 796 farmers submitting applications.

On the other end of the scale, Co. Dublin predictably had fewest applicants, with just 43, while Co. Louth had second fewest with 100 farmer applicants. Carlow had the third lowest numbers, with 127.

The Young Farmers Scheme provides for an additional payment for a maximum of five years to eligible young farmers, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Payment is based on the number of activated payment entitlements held by the young farmer in the year of application, subject to a maximum of 50.