Thousands of young farmers have already applied for the Young Farmer Scheme to take advantage of a 25% top up of their Basic Payment Scheme.

According to latest figures provided by the Department of Agriculture to Agriland there has been just under 5,500 Young Farmers Scheme applications received to date.

The Young Farmers Scheme will include a mandatory top-up on direct payments in the first years of farming.

In the CAP agreement in June 2013 a provision for up to 2% of funds in pillar 1 for provided for a mandatory 25% top up on Single Farm Payment for new entrant young farmers under 40 years for their first five years of installation.

The measure is designed for young farmers to assist them in establishing their farm business and to address the age profile in the sector. See also: Do you qualify for the Young Farmers Scheme?

Teagasc has, to date, received almost 2,500 expressions of interest for Green Cert courses around the country.

It says that the demand for part time and Distance Education Green Cert courses has arisen as a direct result of young farmers applying to the National Reserve and Young Farmer Scheme.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show that some 54,849 Basic Payment Scheme applications have been received to date.

With approximately 130,000 farmers eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme, the Department look set to receive over 75,000 applications in the next three weeks before the May 29 deadline.

Of the applications received to date 78% of applications have been made online.

Last month Minister Coveney said he will be extending the closing date for the BPS by two weeks to May 29 to allow more time for farmers to complete their applications for new schemes.