National Reserve fund in 2018 will be about €3.5m

It is expected that the National Reserve fund in 2018 will be The National Reserve provides access for entitlements to educated young farmers and new entrants to farming who fulfil specific criteria. The Young Farmers Scheme provides €24m each year from 2015 to 2019 in the form of an additional payment to successful applicants per activated entitlement.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed last week opened the online system for applications to the National Reserve, and to the Young Farmers Scheme.

Applications can only be submitted via the agfood.ie online facility.

The National Reserve provides access for ‘Young Farmer’ and ‘New Entrant to Farming’ categories to receive 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.

The reserve in 2018 is targeted specifically at educated young farmers and new entrants to farming who fulfil specific objective criteria.

The Young Farmers Scheme is a separate scheme with just over €24m in funding each year from 2015 to 2019, in the form of an additional payment to successful applicants per activated entitlement.

Macra na Feirme president James Healy welcomed the National Reserve for 2018, saying ongoing provision of a BPS National Reserve is an essential tool to support young people starting in farming.

To qualify as a “young farmer”:

* An applicant must participate in the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in the application year;

* Be no more than 40 years old in the BPS application calendar year;

* Be setting up an agricultural holding for the first time, or has done so during the five years preceding the first BPS application.

To qualify as a “new entrant to farming”:

* An applicant must participate in the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in the application year;

* Must have commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2016 calendar year or any later year;

*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;

* Must submit an application for the BPS not later than two years after the calendar year of completing the agricultural activity.

Applicants must also have successfully completed a recognised agricultural education course giving rise to an award at FETAC Level 6 or its equivalent by May 15, 2018.

Successful National Reserve candidates must also have an off-farm income of less than €40,000 in the 2016 or 2017 tax years.

I was allocated entitlements and/or a top-up to the value of existing entitlements under a previous National Reserve; does this disqualify me from the 2018 National Reserve?

A successful application to the Single Payments Scheme National Reserve (2005-2014) does not make an applicant ineligible for consideration under the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) National Reserve. However, if you had a successful 2015 or 2017 Basic Payment Scheme National Reserve application, you are ineligible for consideration for the 2018 National Reserve Scheme.

Do I need to be the holder of a herd number or be registered on a joint herd number in order to apply for the National Reserve/Young Farmers Scheme?

Applicants are required to be a holder of a registered herd number 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 May 15, 2018.

Applicants should note the addition or removal of a name to/from an existing herd number, a change of legal entity, formation/dissolution of a registered farm partnership or any other amendment to the registration details of a herd number under which entitlements were held in 2017 requires a parallel change to the registration details of the entitlements.

In such cases, a transfer of entitlements application must be submitted by May 15, 2018, or the entitlements will not be available to the transferee for use in 2018, and the 2018 Basic Payment shall issue to the transferor.

I do not currently hold a herd number. How do I apply for one?

In order to apply for a herd number you must complete an ER 1 form. Completed forms should be submitted to your Regional Veterinary Office along with any necessary supporting documentation. These forms can be accessed on the Department’s website.

It will also be necessary to record with the Department details of a bank account to which payments will be made. The Authorisation to Add/Change Bank Account Details for Farmer form should be completed and returned to the Department.

Any queries in relation to registration of bank details should be directed to the Direct Credit Section at 049 4368283.

I want to amend my herd number to add an eligible Young Farmer. What do I need to do?

In order to amend the registration details of a herd number you must complete an ER 1.1 form. Completed forms should be submitted to your Regional Veterinary Office along with any necessary supporting documentation.

These forms can be accessed on the Department’s website along with an information note on completion of these forms.

If there are entitlements associated with the herd number, it will be necessary to complete a 2018 Transfer Form transferring entitlements from the original herd number to the amended herd number that includes the Young Farmer. It will also be necessary to amend the details of the bank account to which payments will be made with the Department, as the young farmer’s name must be included on the name of the bank account.since 2017.

I am not registered on agfood.ie, is it possible to submit a paper version of the application form?

There is no facility to submit hardcopy National Reserve or Young Farmers Scheme applications.

All applications must be submitted online via agfood.ie. For those not currently registered, instructions can be found on www.agfood.ie or you can contact: agfood Online Services Helpdesk in the Department’s Portlaoise Office, Lo call 0761 064424 (or email to agfood@agriculture.gov.ie).

Does the closing date set out in the terms and conditions refer to the application only?

All supporting documentation should be submitted before the stated closing date.

I have applied for my herd number/to transfer an existing herd number, but my application has not yet been approved. As such, I am unable to register on agfood.ie, what options are available to me?

In the event that a herd number has not been assigned at the date of application under the National Reserve/Young Farmers Scheme, a facility is available via iNet for submission of such applications by registered Agricultural Agents.

How do I know if my educational qualifications meet the required standard?

A list of acceptable educational qualifications can be found at Appendix A of the terms and conditions of the National Reserve/Young Farmers Scheme. Where an applicant holds or has completed a qualification that is not included at Appendix A, a letter of equivalence from Teagasc confirming that the educational qualification held by the applicant fulfils the requirements of the scheme must be submitted by the applicant.

I completed the application online, how do I know it has been submitted?

Once you have submitted your application via iNet, a record of the application will show under ‘Correspondence’, and applicants/agents are advised to access same to confirm that the application has been successfully submitted. This record is the only accepted proof of submission of an application via iNet under the 2018 National Reserve and/or Young Farmers Scheme. Only fully completed and submitted applications will be considered.

Can I submit hard copies of the supporting documentation?

There is no facility for submitting hard copies of supporting documentation. All such supporting files should be uploaded on agfood.ie under the relevant sections.

What documents do I need to submit in support of off-farm income?

The documents required include, but may not be limited to, documentation as provided by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners in respect of the tax year 2016 or 2017 such as P60, P21 or Form 11. Applicants are required to submit documents to cover the full tax year chosen, that is, 52 weeks of either 2016 or 2017.

Certain Department of Social Protection payments including Jobseekers Allowance, Jobseekers Benefit, Pre-Retirement Allowance, Supplementary Welfare Allowance, Maternity Benefit, Jobseekers Benefit and Short Term Enterprise Allowance are reckonable as off-farm income. Applicants must provide a statement from the Department of Social Protection setting out details of such payments or confirming that no such payments have been received. In this regard, applicants can generate such statements from the Department of Social Protection facility mywelfare.ie when registered for a Public Services Card.

Details of the process of application for a public services card are available on www.mywelfare.ie

I will not have completed my agricultural education course leading to a recognised/ accepted agricultural qualification by May 15, 2018. Am I eligible?

Applicants must have successfully completed an agricultural education course at FETAC Level 6 or equivalent by May 15, 2018, and must submit a copy of this qualification (or Teagasc letter of equivalence) in support of their application. If an applicant has fully completed the education course, but has not yet been verified as successful or received final certification, they must complete and submit the Confirmation of Education Form which is available for downloading on the online application facility.

If I receive an allocation from the National Reserve in 2018, and acquire additional land in 2019, can I apply for another allocation of entitlements on this additional land?

No, an applicant may only receive an allocation from the Basic Payment Scheme National Reserve once.

A successful application in 2018 excludes the applicant from consideration in any subsequent year.

I was successful for the Young Farmers Scheme in 2017 and I am eligible for the payment in 2018. Do I need to submit a 2018 application?

If no changes have been made to the herd number since 2017, you can apply for the Young Farmers Scheme by using the “tick box” on the Basic Payment Scheme application or through www.agfood.ie

I was successful for the Young Farmers Scheme in 2017 and I am eligible to apply for 2018. However, a change has been made to the herd number since 2017. Can I use the “tick box” option on the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme Application to apply?

As a change has been made to the herd number since 2017, eligible applicants should use the online application facility on www.agfood.ie to submit a new 2018 Young Farme rs Scheme application.

I was successful under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2017 and I am eligible to apply again in 2018 but I do not have the “tick box” option on the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme Application. How do I apply?

In such cases, eligible applications should use the online application facility on Agfood.ie to submit a 2018 Young Farmers Scheme application.

Does the Young Farmer have to be recorded as the herd keeper on a joint herd number/company/partnership?

No, the Young Farmer does not need to be recorded as the herd keeper but must be a registered owner of the herd number.

An eligible Young Farmer is registered as the herd keeper on my herd number but s/he is not on the herd number. Will this meet the eligibility conditions of the Young Farmers Scheme?

No, the Young Farmer must be registered on the herd number.

I qualified for the Young Farmers Scheme payment on 30 activated entitlements in 2017. I will be activating an additional (following a lease agreement) 20 entitlements in 2018. Will I qualify for the Young Farmers Scheme payment on only the 30 I held in 2017 or also on the additional entitlements for 2018, subject to the maximum of 50?

Successful applicants will qualify for the Young Farmers Scheme payment on all entitlements activated by them in the given scheme year, subject to a maximum of 50. So in this case the Young Farmer will qualify on the 50 activated entitlements.

I was successful under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2017 and have acquired additional Naked Land in 2018 for which I do not hold entitlements. Will I get the Young Farmers Scheme payment in 2018 on this naked land in 2018?

The Young Farmers Scheme payment is not paid per eligible hectare declared. Instead it is paid per activated entitlements held in the scheme year. Successful applicants will only be paid the Young Farmers Scheme payment on the activated entitlement they hold in the scheme year, subject to a maximum of 50, even where they hold more hectares than entitlements.

What will entitlements allocated from the National Reserve be valued at?

The value of entitlements allocated from the National Reserve, and the value to which existing entitlements are increased, shall be fixed at the national average value of payment entitlements in the year of allocation.

In 2017, the National Average value was approximately €185.

The land that I intend to declare in 2018 is not owned by me. Do I have to show I have a minimum term lease agreement for the land and will I have to provide a copy of the lease?

Successful applicants may receive entitlements on owned, leased or rented land. It is not necessary for applicants to demonstrate a minimum term lease but documentary evidence relating to land farmed may be requested at a later date.

I do not hold any entitlements, am I eligible for the Young Farmer’s Scheme?

The Young Farmers Scheme is paid on activated entitlements.

If you do not hold entitlements, your application for the Young Farmer’s Scheme will be unsuccessful.

Can entitlements be transferred out from land to create naked land for the purposes of applying to the National Reserve?

Removal of entitlements from land for the purpose of creating naked land upon which a National Reserve allocation can be made is not permitted. This action is regarded as circumventing the EU Regulations governing the operation of the scheme by artificially creating the conditions required for obtaining an allocation from the National Reserve.

* Full terms and conditions are on the Department’s www.agriculture.gov.ie website.


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