‘Young farmers will be catered for with an injection of funding in 2017’

Young farmers will be catered for with the injection of €5m in funding in 2017 for the National Reserve, Macra na Feirme National President Sean Finan said.

Macra welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, today that the National Reserve will re-open this year. 

The re-opening of the National Reserve, Macra believes, is a positive signal from the Government on the value it places on the development of young farmers and their futures.

It is also something that Macra has actively campaigned on for some time, Finan said.

“We have lobbied at political and farm organisation levels to seek support and ensure there is a National Reserve in 2017.

young farmers
Minister Creed and Macra National President Sean Finan

“It’s very significant that there is a National Reserve in 2017. We believe if the National Reserve was not opened this year, it’s unlikely it would open for the duration of the current CAP programme.

2016 and 2017 new entrants and young farmers will be catered for with the injection of funding this year from the reallocation of unused young farmers’ top-up funds.

The National Reserve in 2017 will accommodate the priority categories of young farmers and new entrants.

It is hoped the scheme will incorporate those who lost out in 2016 due to the lack of a National Reserve, as well as 2017 young farmers and new entrants.

The 2015 National Reserve scheme was very popular with 6,260 successful applicants and, as a result, all funds were exhausted, according to Macra.

Meanwhile, the decision to reopen the reserve was also welcomed by IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy.

It is very important that there are ongoing supports for a National Reserve and Young Farmer Scheme to support restructuring in the farming industry.

Kennedy also called on Minister Creed to clarify the situation in relation to ‘clawback’ on sales of entitlements.

The IFA has also expressed the view that the ‘clawback’ should be reduced from 50% to 20%, which would have the potential to create additional funds for the National Reserve in future.

Hopes for 2018

The Macra National President now hopes that the replenishment mechanisms, including ‘clawback’ on sale of entitlements without land and unused entitlements, will create enough of a budget to extend the scheme.

It remains to be seen if these replenishment mechanisms will gather enough funding to accommodate young farmers for 2018 and subsequent years up to the end of the current CAP programme, he added.

Macra believes the injection of funds this year for a National Reserve is imperative for three years of young farmers (2016-2018).

Without this funding, the monies required in 2018 would unlikely be raised by the replenishment mechanisms and result in no National Reserve for the duration of the CAP programme, according to Macra.

The Macra na Feirme National President wished to thank Minister Creed, his officials and some of the farm organisations who supported their proposals for a 2017 National Reserve, on the behalf of young farmers.

The re-opening of a 2017 National Reserve is another example of the very positive and valuable work that Macra na Feirme does in representing and lobbying on behalf of young farmers.

We have to move away from the stop-start nature of young farmer schemes and this announcement is a very positive development in that regard, he added.