The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney announced the conditions of the 2015 National Reserve for farmers in the run up to Christmas.

The transition to the new regime of Direct Payments will include the establishment of a National Reserve using 3% of the ceiling allocated to the Basic Payment Scheme in 2015. This will provide a fund of almost €25m from which new entitlements will be allocated to successful applicants.

The Minister said he is keenly aware of the limited resources available in the National Reserve over the five years of the Scheme.

“My aim is to ensure that these resources are targeted specifically at those who have a proven interest in pursuing a full time career in agriculture but who require assistance in establishing themselves in the Direct Payments system. At the same time I am mindful of the risk of excluding those who may engage in limited off-farm employment as a means of supplementing their agricultural income.”

Priority under the National Reserve will be given to farmers who meet the definition of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’. Successful applicants will receive an allocation of entitlements based on the eligible land declared on their 2015 Basic Payment Scheme application at a value equal to the national average value of entitlements in the year of application.

Successful applicants who already hold entitlements which are below the national average value will receive a top-up whereby the value of those entitlements will be increased to the national average value.

An off-farm income limit of €40,000 will be applied to all applicants. In addition the maximum allocation that any farmers may receive has been fixed at 90 entitlements. The off-farm income limit will be applied to either of the 2013 or 2014 tax years at the applicants choosing.

Significant priority is given to those who qualify as young farmers under the new regime of Direct Payments which takes effect in 2015. Find out here if you qualify as a young farmer.