It is very disappointing that there is to be no National Reserve funding for 2016, according to Macra na Feirme President, Sean Finan.

Yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said that there is no funding available to cover the operation of a 2016 National Reserve.

Speaking to Agriland, Finan said that it is a “missed opportunity” and Macra is worried for the future of the scheme.

“Macra had hoped for consistency in the implementation of the National Reserve every year and sought commitment from the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, that it would be in place for the duration of current CAP.”

The Macra na Feirme President said that it is a “huge blow” to young farmers that there will not be funding for the scheme this year.

“We don’t want to end up in a situation next year again like this. It’s important to bring farmers into the industry.”

Finan said that the scheme was very successful last year and next year there is a mechanism to replenish it.

“We can’t go from year-to-year not knowing [if there will be a National Reserve or not]. Young farmers are guessing what schemes are in place for them while other farmers know what schemes they are in.

“It’s going to create problems in the future,” he concluded.

National Reserve would require re-opening of Basic Payment Scheme

Minister Creed said that the operation of a National Reserve for 2016 would require the re-opening of the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme for applications.

This is because under EU Regulation, he said applicants to the scheme must also submit a valid Basic Payment Scheme application for the year in which they submit the National Reserve application.

As the closing date for Basic Payment Scheme applications has now passed, farmers have finalised arrangements regarding the declaration of land for the 2016 scheme year which would have implications for potential National Reserve applicants.

The Minister said that the reopening of Basic Payment Scheme applications at this stage would likely delay the processing of such applications for 2016, with the consequent potential for delay in payments.

From 2017 onwards the scheme will be replenished from unused entitlements, he said. The Minister said that this as EU Regulations governing the scheme provide that entitlements that are unused for two consecutive years are surrendered to the National Reserve