The online system for the submission of applications to the National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme for 2017 is now open, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has announced.

“The National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme are key measures in encouraging and facilitating the entrance of young, well-educated persons into the farming sector,” he said.

As previously announced by Minister Creed, just over €5m has been provided in funding for the National Reserve in 2017 – following a ‘linear cut’ to the value of all Basic Payment Scheme entitlements.

This level of funding is equivalent to the amount of unspent funds under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2015, which was added to the Basic Payment Scheme financial ceiling.

The National Reserve is set to provide priority access to the mandatory categories of ‘Young Farmer’ and ‘New Entrant to Farming’, as per the EU regulations governing the operation of the National Reserve.

Successful applicants to the National Reserve receive an allocation of entitlements at the National Reserve national average value, or a top-up to the national average value on entitlements that are below it.

In 2017, the National Reserve will be targeted specifically at educated young farmers and new entrants to farming who fulfil specific objective criteria, the Department added.

Young Farmers Scheme

The Young Farmers Scheme is a separate scheme with just over €24m in funding available each year from 2015 to 2019.

The scheme provides an additional payment to successful applicants – per activated entitlement.

Applications under the 2017 National Reserve and Young Farmers scheme must be submitted using the online facility available at the Department’s website.

The full terms and conditions of both schemes are also available online.

The 2017 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme offer an opportunity to build on the huge success in supporting the regeneration of agriculture in Ireland since 2015, Minister Creed said.

This has seen well over 6,000 young farmers and new entrants benefit from Direct Payment measures – to help underpin the agriculture sector in Ireland in the coming years, he added.