National Reserve and Young Farmers scheme deadline is fast approaching
Earlier this year the National Reserve and Young Farmers schemes were launched by the The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D.
The various categories of the online schemes provide a vital financial resource to young farmers (aged 40 and under) and new entrants (no age restriction) during the crucial years following establishment of the farm holding.
The deadline is the 15th May 2019 and applications have to be made online through www.agfood.ie.
The 2019 Young Farmers Scheme will have funding of €24 million and eligible farmers will receive a top-up on existing entitlements of approximately € 68.41 each, based on previous year’s payments as a guide.
It is expected that the funding in place for the 2019 National Reserve will be in the region of €3 million.
Successful applicants to the National Reserve receive an allocation of entitlements at the national average value or a top-up to the national average value.
In recent years the National Average value of BPS entitlement was approximately €264 each, which includes Greening.
Applicants are required to be a holder of a registered herd number in their own right or jointly in order to qualify for the National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme.
Applications for a herd number, or to be included on an existing herd number, must have been received by the local DVO by 15th May 2019. Applicants must submit a valid Basic Payment Scheme Application to the Department by 15th May 2019.
Young Farmers Scheme
Where a young farmer is the sole person on a herd number s/he is aged no more than 40 years of age at any time during the calendar year in which s/he first submits an application under the Basic Payment Scheme.
S/he must have successfully completed a recognised course of education in agriculture to FETAC level 6 or its equivalent by the 15th May 2019 and s/he have set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of the Basic Payment Scheme application.
Where the farming activity runs as a group e.g. in a joint herd number, a registered farm partnership or a company the young farmer’s name must be on the bank account and a declaration form confirming that the young farmer has effective control, either solely or jointly must be completed and signed by all group members.
National Reserve - Young Farmer Category
The criteria to be eligible under the National Reserve - Young Farmer Category is the same as what is required under the Young farmers scheme when it comes to age, education and completing the declaration form to confirm that the young farmer has effective sole or joint control on the running of farm.
One vital additional condition is that gross off-farm income does not exceed €40,000 in one of the tax years 2017 or 2018. Where there is a joint herd number, all members of the group must declare their income and the combined income must be under €40,000 for the group to be eligible.
National Reserve – New Entrant Category
This National Reserve category is very different from the previous Young Farmer category in that it is for ‘New Entrants’ to farming and there is no age restriction. A ‘New Entrant’ is defined as someone who has commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2017 calendar year or any later year.
They 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. Again as in all other categories outlined above s/he must have successfully completed a recognised course of education in agriculture to FETAC level 6 or its equivalent by the 15th May 2019.
S/he cannot have a gross off-farm income that exceeds €40,000 in one of the tax years 2017 or 2018.
Where a herd number that is registered on behalf of a group applies under the ‘new entrant’ category, all persons in control of the group must meet all conditions of the ‘new entrant’ category with the exception of the educational requirement.
At least one of the persons in control of the group must meet the education requirements.
It’s important if you consider that you might be eligible for the Young farmers Scheme or National Reserve that you contact your local Agriculture Advisor as each individual situation will need to be looked at in detail prior to submission. Amendments to applications are not possible once submitted.
Seán Doorley is a Beef & Sheep Adviser, Longford Town.
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