The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has clarified its position in respect of changes to the Young Farmers’ Payment (YFP) 2018.

A department spokesman said the follow-up announcement is the result of additional information received from the EU Commission regarding changes to regulations – agreed in Brussels last December.

The latest information alters what was previously announced.

The department had previously announced that successful applicants of the YFP would now be eligible to receive payment for all five years following their first successful application to the scheme – including retrospective years.

However, the EU Commission has now clarified that the new arrangements cannot be used to make retrospective payments to YFB applicants in respect of 2016 or 2017, if payments were not due in those years under the old rules.

The previous position

Under previous rules, this five-year period would have been reduced if the young farmer had been farming as the head of a holding for a time before first submitting an application.

For example, an applicant that was accepted for the YFP in 2015 for a period of one year under the previous rules, would now be able to receive payment for the 2018 and 2019 scheme years – but not for the 2016 and 2017 scheme years.

The department intends to get in contact with applicants affected by this rule change and will offer advise on how to make an application through the 2018 Single Application Form online.

The five-year payment period is subject to applicants continuing to meet the eligibility conditions of the scheme during this time.

A department spokesman added that any future changes to EU legislation, or future decisions on agricultural support policy, made by the UK Government and Northern Ireland Assembly post Brexit could change this position.