Farm Ireland
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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Applications for young farmers' top-up payment up 5% in 2016

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Applications to the Young Farmers Scheme are up 5pc this year compared to 2016, according to the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

The Young Farmers Scheme was introduced in 2015 as a measure to support young farmers under the reformed Common Agricultural Policy.

Ireland has allocated 2pc of the national ceiling to the Scheme each year from 2015 to 2019.

The Department of Agriculture says payments under the 2016 Young Farmers Scheme are due to issue after payment of the Basic Payment Scheme balancing payment on December 1, 2016.

In 2015 there were 8,170 successful applicants under the Young Farmers Scheme. For 2016, the Department has received some 8,600 applications for funding under the scheme and it says processing of these applications is currently being finalised.

2017 National Reserve?

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that decisions in relation to the National Reserve for 2017 will be considered once the position on potential funding has been established.

In 2015 the National Reserve fund was based on a 3pc cut to the Basic Payment Scheme financial ceiling and provided some €24.7m in funding which was the maximum financing rate available under the relevant EU Regulations.

The Minister says the EU regulations governing the National Reserve provides that priority under the National Reserve must be given to ‘young farmers’ and to ‘new entrants to farming’.

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There was no National Reserve in 2016 as all available funding has been utilised under the 2015 scheme. 

There were 6,260 beneficiaries under the 2015 National Reserve of which 5,567 were successful applicants under the ‘young farmer’ priority category.

According to the Minister in order to provide for a National Reserve in 2017 funding is required to replenish the Reserve. 

“EU Regulations governing the scheme provide that funding for the replenishment of the National Reserve may be obtained by means of surrender of entitlements that remain unused by farmers for two consecutive years and by claw-back derived following the sale of entitlements without land. It is envisaged that funding derived from these two sources in 2017 will be very limited.

“The Regulations also provide for the application of a linear cut to the value of all farmers’ entitlements to replenish the National Reserve,” he said.

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