Young Farmer Scheme: What applicants need to know

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has written to all Young Farmer Scheme applicants with some advice on how to meet the scheme terms and conditions and avoid inspection penalties.

All applicants will receive the letter via their AgFood account. A webinar is organised to coincide with this letter for Tuesday (October 13).

The Young Farmers Scheme (YFS) was introduced in 2015 as a top-up to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

According to the Department of Agriculture, “it is accepted that the creation and development of a new farm business is financially challenging and this payment is intended as an income support to young farmers starting their agricultural activities to facilitate the initial establishment of the farm business”.

A young farmer is eligible to apply if he/she is no more than 40 years-of-age in the first year of application, has attained a minimum level of agricultural education and is in financial and managerial control of the holding.

The YFS can be paid for a maximum of five years. The detailed eligibility requirements are set out in the terms and conditions of the scheme.

Arrangements

There is a wide variety of arrangements and circumstances in place on farms when young farmers are starting off.

In order to help young farmers make sure that their own arrangements meet the requirements of the YFS, the department has written to all scheme participants to highlight some of the key requirements that must be in place to be compliant with the financial and management control requirements of the scheme – which is the most common reason for penalties.

All scheme participants are urged to check that they comply with these key requirements in order to remain eligible for the YFS and avoid loss of payments.

The most common reasons for failing YFS inspections are:
  1. Some of the farm business transactions are not going through the farm bank account – that is the account in the young farmer’s name;
  2. The one farm bank account is being used by the young farmer and another person who is farming separately. A joint account is acceptable as long as the other person named on the account is not farming separately;
  3. The young farmer cannot show when asked that s/he is actively involved in running the farm and has full knowledge of all the enterprises on the farm.

A webinar is scheduled for Tuesday (October 13) at 3:00pm, and young farmers interested in attending should register on the department’s website.