IFA demands final settlement for the 'forgotten farmers'
A final settlement for the 4,000 'forgotten farmers' must be incorporated in the next CAP reform package, the IFA has insisted.
IFA deputy president Richard Kennedy said that finding a remedy for past "anomalies" in the Young Farmers' Scheme (YFS) will be a priority for the organisation in the upcoming CAP reform process.
Thousands of farmers who started farming in their own right have lost out on all or part of their entitlements under the YFS due to the manner in which the scheme was interpreted.
Under the YFS, which opened in 2015, applicants could qualify for an annual special payment for the first five years they farmed in their own right.
However, those whose first five years farming expired in 2015, or shortly thereafter, only qualified for a reduced payment under the YFS because the period before 2015 was incorrectly deemed to fall outside the scheme's remit.
The Commission has since ruled that all YFS applicants were entitled to full payments for five years. Crucially, however, it was left to the discretion of individual member states whether or not they wished to make retrospective payments to farmers who received reduced payments due to the misinterpretation of the rules.
Donal McLoughlin, an organic beef producer at Ballinamuck, Co Longford, claims that he has lost out on more than half of the amount he believes he was entitled to under the YFS.
"I obtained a herd number in 2011 and applied to the 2015 Young Farmer Scheme but I only received payment for two years because of what I see as an unfair five-year rule," he said.