Forgotten farmers face uphill battle in Brussels
Diverse profile of young farmers group is working against them at EU level
The diverse nature of the so-called 'forgotten farmers' has become a major stumbling block in their ongoing battle for EU recognition.
The group, made up of 3,900 farmers aged under 40 years, do not qualify for crucial CAP supports aimed at young farmers because they started farming before 2008.
The Department of Agriculture previously stated that it would cost more than €12m to increase existing entitlements to the national average for this cohort.
As part of the programme for Government, a commitment was made to seek recognition from the EU Commission for forgotten farmers as "a group with specific disadvantage" under the national reserve.
However, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed admits that little progress has been made with no additional funding secured to date.
"The forgotten farmers is a difficult one. I have been in contact with the Commissioner on this and it's like all things, if it was easy to resolve, it would have been done long ago."
In 2015, a previous cohort called the 'old young farmers', who started farming in 2008 or 2009 but did not benefit from installation aid, or the young farmer group of the national reserve, could qualify for national reserve aid as "a group suffering from specific disadvantage".
Although the 'old young farmers' were successful, Mr Creed says recognition for the 'forgotten farmers' is proving much more challenging.