Included in a suite of measures under the new CAP reform which comes into force next year Ireland decided to establish a Young Farmers Scheme the purpose of which is to encourage the participation of young farmers in agriculture.

When the reforms come into force it will be the first time in the history of the Common Agricultural Policy there will be elements dedicated to young farmers.

It will include a mandatory top-up on direct payments in the first years of farming.  In the CAP agreement in June 2013 a provision for up to 2% of funds in pillar 1 for provided for a mandatory 25%  top up on Single Farm Payment for new entrant young farmers under 40 years for their first five years of installation.  The measure is designed for young farmers to assist them in establishing their farm business and to address the age profile in the sector. 

To qualify as a ‘young farmer’ under the Young Farmers Scheme, a farmer must meet all of the following conditions:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme.
  • S/he is aged no more than 40 years of age in the year when s/he first 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.
  • S/he has successfully completed a recognised course of education in agriculture giving rise to an award at FETAC level 6 or its equivalent.