The Department has received in excess of 6,000 applications to date under the Young Farmers Scheme.

Thousands of young farmers have applied for the Young Farmers Scheme to take advantage of a 25% top up of their Basic Payment Scheme supports.

The Young Farmers Scheme 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 provided for 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.

With a number of important young farmers schemes opening this year, it is set to usher in an unprecedented level of generational change in Irish farming according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

“I can see generational change happening in agriculture the like we haven’t seen in 30 years,” he said in an interview with Agriland recently.

He said that’s because in the negotiations for the reformed Common Agricultural Policy he looked for measures which deliberately, positively discriminated in favour of young farmers.

Due to the huge demand for the scheme the Department of Agriculture has made special arrangements to ensure that the non-issue of a herd number will not impact negatively on applicants under the Basic Payments Scheme.

According to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, as had been expected, there has been a considerable increase in activity in this area and, to date this year, his Department’s Regional Offices have processed over 3,000 new herd number applications and over 3,200 amendments to existing herd numbers.

He said approximately 3,000 applications for new herd numbers and amendments to herd numbers are currently on hand and are being dealt with as quickly as possible.

My Department has already taken steps to ensure that this factor will not negatively impact on farmer applicants under the relevant schemes.

The Minister said where an applicant under the National Reserve priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant’ had not been issued a herd number or added to a herd number by the closing date of March 31, 2015, their application under the National Reserve will be accepted once they had applied for a herd number or to be added to a herd number prior to March 31, 2015.

Similarly, he said applicants under the Young Farmers Scheme who have not been issued a herd number or added to a herd number by the closing date of May 29, 2015 will have their applications under the Scheme accepted once they have applied for a herd number or to be added to a herd number prior to May 29.