Young farmers and new entrants can look forward to significant allocations of entitlement top-ups from the national reserve in 2015 according to ICSA rural development chairman Billy Gray.

“This is very good news for the agriculture sector and should encourage more young people to get into and stay in the sector,” said Gray.

Qualifying applicants will be eligible to apply for entitlements valued at the national average per hectare on up to 90 hectares of eligible land. Qualifying young farmers and new entrants with existing low-value entitlements can also apply to have these brought up to the national average on up to 90 hectares, he said.

The ICSA understands that applications will be open early in 2015.

Qualifying young farmers will also be entitled to a 25% top-up on up to 50 hectares which will be worth just over €3,000 for a maximum of five years.

Gray said farmers should also note that for the national reserve allocation, there is an off-farm income limit of €40,000. There is no income limit on the young farmer top-up.

“Any farmers who are concerned that they might miss out on eligibility due to some anomalous situation should contact ICSA immediately,” said Gray.