To encourage generational renewal in agriculture, the latest CAP reform saw the introduction of a new scheme to encourage more young people into farming.

Under the Young Famers Scheme the basic payment awarded to young farmers, newcomers or farms set up in the previous five years is increased by 25% for the first five years.

2% of the national budget allocation is used to finance this supplement and it is mandatory for Member States in the EU to provide the scheme.

Young Farmers Scheme key facts
  • Mandatory scheme under Pillar 1 of CAP
  • Applicants must be under 40 years of age in the year in which the application is submitted
  • Applicants must be setting up an agricultural holding for the first time or have set up a holding in the previous five years
  • Member States may define further objective and non-discriminatory eligibility criteria
  • Payment to be granted for a maximum period of five years from the date of setting up
  • Member States may choose one of the following payment calculation methods:
    • 25% of the average value of the payment entitlements held by the farmer,
    • 25% of the average value of entitlements in the Member State,
    • 25% of the national average payment per hectare in the Member State (based on the national ceiling), multiplied by the number of entitlements activated by the young farmer, or a lump sum payment
  • Member States must apply a maximum limit of not less than 25 and not more than 90 payment entitlements activated or eligible hectares declared by the farmer (this does not apply to the lump sum payment),
  • Member States can use up to 2% of their annual national ceiling for the scheme.

Who is Eligible for the Young Farmers Scheme?

To be eligible for participation in the Young Farmers Scheme an applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year in which s/he submits an application;
  • S/he is aged no more than 40 years of age at any time during the calendar year in which s/he first submits an application under the Basic Payment Scheme;
  • S/he has successfully completed a recognised course of education in agriculture giving rise to an award at FETAC level 6 or its equivalent. Alternatively s/he must commit to commencing such a course by 30th September 2016
  • 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.

Eligibility of Young Farmer(s) in a Group – Young Farmers Scheme

Where a young farmer undertakes the farming activity as part of a group e.g. in a joint herdnumber, a partnership or a company, the group will be considered eligible for the Young Farmers scheme if the following conditions are met;

  • At least one person in the group must meet the definition of Young Farmer as outlined in the section above;
  • That Young Farmer must exercise effective and long term control either solely or jointly within the group in terms of decisions related to the management, benefits and financial risks of the group. Such control is demonstrated as follows:
    • the young farmer’s name is on the herdnumber;
    • the young farmer’s name is on the bank account used for the purposes of the farming activity;
    • Companies Only – the Young Farmer must be a Director and minimum 20% shareholder in the Company;
    • all persons who participate in the group must complete a National Reserve/Young Farmers Scheme Declaration form confirming that the young farmer has effective control, either solely or jointly with the other members of the group. This declaration form is available with the scheme application form and on the Departments website.

What documents are required?

Depending on the farming entity applicants will be required to submit certain documents in support of their application as follows:

Individual Young Farmer Applicant

  • Copy of the Educational Qualification or documentary evidence of a commitment to undertake a course leading to such a qualification.

Young Farmer in a Group – Joint Herdnumber/Partnership/Company

  • Copy of the Educational Qualification or documentary evidence of a commitment to undertake a course leading to such a qualification (see section 1.4 below);
  • Birth Certificate of the Young Farmer(s) in the group;
  • National Reserve/Young Farmers Scheme Declaration for the purpose of determining effective and long term control of the Young Farmer in the group (to be witnessed by a Solicitor) see section 1.2 above;
  • Joint Herdnumber Only – Bank Statement/Letter from the Bank to which Direct Payments are made confirming that the Young Farmers name is on the bank account;
  • Company Only – A copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Submitted applications that do not have all the required supporting documentation by the closing date will be subject to penalties and after 25 calendar days will be deemed inadmissible.

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What are the educational qualification requirements?

To be considered eligible under the Young Farmer Scheme an applicant must:

  • Have completed an agricultural qualification at FETAC Level 6 or its equivalent and must submit a copy of such qualification in support of their application; or
  • Be currently participating in an agricultural course that will give rise to a qualification at FETAC Level 6 or its equivalent. Applicants must submit a letter from the educational authority (e.g. the agricultural college) confirming participation in such a course; or
  • Intend to undertake such a course on or before 30th September 2016 in which case the applicant must supply documentary evidence of this commitment.

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Where the applicant either fails to commence the stated course within a reasonable period of time or where the applicant has not demonstrated the level of progress expected through the course.

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Payment to the applicant will cease and any monies previously paid under the Young Farmers Scheme will be recouped from the applicant who will be deemed ineligible.

How much is the Young Farmers Scheme payment worth?

The Young Farmers Scheme payment will be calculated as 25% of the national average payment per hectare (based on the national ceiling) multiplied by the number of entitlements activated by the successful applicant, subject to the maximum number of 50 activated entitlements whether individual, group or Company.

A successful applicant will receive payment under the Young Farmers Scheme for a maximum period of five years. The ‘five years’ is dated from the year of setting up of the holding.

How to make an application?

Applications for Young Farmers Scheme must be submitted online.

Where the Department identifier (herdnumber/Partnership number) is registered in multiple names, applications submitted quoting that identifier are deemed to be submitted with the consent of all registered owners, e.g. in the following cases:

  • where the Department identifier is registered in more than one name, i.e. Joint herd number,
  • in the case of Partnerships, by all Partners,
  • in the case of Companies, by the Company Directors.

Where a registered Partnership wishes to submit an application for the National Reserve or Young Farmers Scheme the application must be submitted using the registered Partnership number as designated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.


Applicants under the National Reserve and Young Farmers scheme may be subject to inspection.

Such inspection may take the form of on the spot checks or administrative checks during which
applicants may be asked to submit original hard copies of supporting documentation for verification

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Penalties for Late Applications

There will be a 25-calendar day period after the closing date for the acceptance of late applications.

However, a fixed percentage penalty per working day that the application is received late will apply during this period.

For the National Reserve, the fixed percentage penalty stands at 3% and 1% for the Young Farmers Scheme.