Online applications now accepted for National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme

The online system for submission of applications is now open to both the National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme in 2018.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, made an announcement revealing this earlier today.

Minister Creed said: “The National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme are key support measures in encouraging and facilitating generational renewal through the entrance of young, well-educated persons into the farming sector.”

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

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 the national average.

It is expected that the fund for 2018 will be in the region of €3.5 million. The National Reserve in 2018 will be targeted specifically at educated young farmers and new entrants to farming who fulfil specific objective criteria.

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

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

Applications under the 2018 National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme must be submitted using the online facility, available at http://agfood.ie/.

The full terms and conditions of both schemes are available on the department’s website.

Minister Creed concluded, noting: “The 2018 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme build on the very real success in supporting the regeneration of agriculture in Ireland since 2015 – which has seen over 7,000 young farmers and new entrants benefit from direct payment measures to help underpin the agriculture sector in Ireland in the coming years.”

What is a ‘Young Farmer’?

To qualify as a ‘young farmer’, according to the department, an applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he is no more than 40 years of age during the calendar year in which s/he submits an application under the Basic Payment Scheme;
  • S/he is setting up an agricultural holding for the first time or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of the Basic Payment Scheme application.

Meanwhile, a ‘new entrant to farming’ is defined as:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he must have commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2016 calendar year or any later year;
  • S/he did not have 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;
  • S/he must submit an application for the Basic Payment Scheme not later than two years after the calendar year in which s/he completed the agricultural activity.

Other eligibility criteria

Senders of applications will be required to have successfully completed a recognised agricultural education course giving rise to an award at FETAC Level 6 or its equivalent by May 15, 2018.

Successful candidates under the National Reserve will also be required to have an off-farm income of less than €40,000 in either of the 2016 or 2017 tax years. There is no off-farm income limit for the Young Farmers Scheme.