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Friday 17 November 2017

Creed unveils new National Reserve fund

€5m scheme will prioritise young farmers and new entrants

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed. Picture: Arthur Carron
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed. Picture: Arthur Carron

Theresa Murphy

A National Reserve Scheme for 2017 with a fund of €5m will be launched today by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

The scheme is being funded by a linear cut to the value of all Basic Payment Scheme entitlements.

However, the Department of Agriculture said that the €5m reserve scheme budget is equivalent to the amount of unspent funds under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2015 which were added to the Basic Payment Scheme financial ceiling.

Priority for the reserve will be given to 'Young Farmers' and 'New Entrants to Farming'.

Successful applicants receive an allocation of entitlements at the national average value of entitlements for the Basic Payment Scheme, or a top-up to that level where the applicant is below the average. The national average under the Basic Payment Scheme is approximately €185/ha.

Given that the National Reserve is capped at €5m, the scheme should fund full and top-up payments on over 30,000ha. It is anticipated that over 500 farmers will apply for the scheme.

Minister Creed said the 2017 Young Farmers Scheme will also be available to provide an additional payment to any person who qualifies as a 'young farmer'.

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"The 2015 National Reserve proved to be a huge success in facilitating the entry of over 6,000 young, well-educated persons into the farming community," Minister Creed said.

"The National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme, together with the value of associated Greening payments, provided for an allocation of Pillar 1 payments in excess of €52m in 2015. The 2017 National Reserve will build on this progress in helping to provide a solid basis for the future of the agriculture industry in Ireland," he added.

The National Reserve online application form, together with full terms and conditions, will be available when the scheme opens for applications in March 2017.

The closing date for receipt of applications under the scheme will be May 15, 2017.

Macra na Feirme leader Seán Finan "warmly welcomed" the reopening of the scheme."This is a positive signal from the Government on the value it places on the development of young farmers and their futures," he said.

"The reopening of the National Reserve is something that Macra na Feirme has actively campaigned on, for an extended period of time," Mr Finan said.


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