National Reserve 2020 to open for applications in February

The National Reserve for 2020 will open for applications in February, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed.

Confirming the announcement by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) this morning, Thursday, January 23, that up to €3 million in funding will be available for the 2020 reserve, the department this evening also confirmed that there will be no need for a linear cut to the value of all Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlements.

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’.

It is expected that the funding in place for the 2020 National Reserve will be in the region of €3 million, which based on the level of applications in recent years will be sufficient to meet the expected demand, the department confirmed this evening.

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.

Full details of the operation of the scheme will be available when the scheme opens for online applications in February 2020 to coincide with the opening of online Basic Payment Scheme applications, the department added.

The closing date for receipt of applications under the scheme will be Friday, May 15, 2020.

It is expected that the terms and conditions, which will be announced in detail in February, will be consistent with those that applied in recent years.

The department noted that, to qualify as a ‘young farmer’, an applicant must: be participating in the BPS in the year s/he submits an application; be no more than 40 years of age during the calendar year in which s/he first submits an application under BPS; and be setting up an agricultural holding for the first time or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first BPS submission.

Meanwhile, it was noted that a ‘new entrant to farming’ is defined as:
  • Participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • Having commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2018 calendar year or any later year;
  • Having not had 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.

In addition, in line with the requirements under National Reserve schemes since the introduction of the Single Payment Scheme in 2005, successful candidates will be required to meet an appropriate agricultural education qualification standard.

Successful candidates will also be required to have a gross off-farm income of less than €40,000 in either of the 2018 or 2019 tax years.