Farm Ireland

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Are you eligible for the 2018 National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme?

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

The online system for submission of applications to both the National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme in 2018 has been opened this week. 

The EU regulations governing the operation of the National Reserve provide for priority access to the mandatory categories of ‘Young Farmer’ and ‘New Entrant to Farming’. 

Successful applicants to the National Reserve receive an allocation of entitlements at the National Reserve National Average value or a top-up to the national average value on entitlements that are below the national average.

 It is expected that the fund for 2018 will be in the region of €3.5 million. 

The Young Farmers Scheme is a separate scheme with just over €24 million in funding available each year from 2015 to 2019.  The scheme provides an additional payment to successful applicants per activated entitlement.

The Young Farmer Scheme payment is 25pc of the national average payment per hectare multiplied by the number of entitlements activated by the applicant, subject to a maximum of 50.

The National Reserve in 2018 will be targeted specifically at educated young farmers and new entrants to farming who fulfil specific objective criteria.

Under the National Reserve, applicants who met the criteria of ‘Young Farmer’ or ‘New Entrant’ who had a gross off-farm income of less than €40,000 in either the tax years 2015 or 2016 are eligible for an additional allocation of entitlements on eligible land for which they held no entitlements and/or a top-up to the value of existing entitlements held by them, where those entitlements were below the national average.

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Definition of ‘Young Farmer’

To qualify as a ‘young farmer’ an applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he is no more than 40 years of age during the calendar year in which s/he submits an application under the Basic Payment Scheme;
  • S/he is setting up an agricultural holding for the first time or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of the Basic Payment Scheme application.

Definition of ‘New Entrant to Farming’

A ‘new entrant to farming’ is defined as:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he must have commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2016 calendar year or any later year;
  • S/he did not have any agricultural activity in his/her own name and at his/her own risk in the five years preceding the start of the present agricultural activity;
  • S/he must submit an application for the Basic Payment Scheme not later than two years after the calendar year in which s/he completed the agricultural activity.


Applicants will be required to have successfully completed a recognised agricultural education course giving rise to an award at FETAC Level 6 or its equivalent by the 15th May 2018.

Off-Farm income

Successful candidates under the National Reserve will also be required to have an off-farm income of less than €40,000 in either of the 2016 or 2017 tax years.  There is no off-farm income limit for the Young Farmers Scheme.

For those applicants who are farming as part of a group or as a Company, off farm income is determined as follows:

  • Joint herd number – the gross off-farm income of all members of the group are taken into consideration (€40,000 limit applies to the group);
  • Company – the gross off-farm income of the Directors are taken into consideration;
  • Registered Farm Partnership –off-farm income of all participants on the herd number to which the Young Farmer(s) is associated is considered.

Applications under the 2018 National Reserve and Young Farmers scheme must be submitted using the online facility available at  The full Terms and Conditions of both schemes is available on the Department’s website at

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