Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Ceisteanna (552)

Charlie McConalogue


552. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if in circumstances in which a young person inherits 30 hectares of hill land which is privately owned and enclosed, they are eligible to entitlement under the young farmer scheme, if they qualify for other schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9577/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

EU Regulation 1307/2013 provides for the establishment of a National Reserve. One of the two mandatory priority categories National Reserve is ‘Young Farmer’. For the purposes of the ‘young farmer’ priority category of the National Reserve a young farmer is defined as follows:

- must be aged 40 or less in the year in which s/he first submits an application under the Basic Payment scheme;

- must be setting up an agricultural holding for the first time in his/her own name or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of the BPS application;

- must have submitted a valid BPS application in the year of application to the National Reserve.

Successful applicants must also hold a recognised agricultural educational qualification at FETAC Level 6 or equivalent and have an off-farm income of not more than €40,000 in either of the two most recent tax years.

Successful applicants under the National Reserve can receive an allocation of new entitlements from the National Reserve on the basis of one entitlement for one hectare at the National Average value of entitlements. Applicants who already hold existing entitlements which are below the national average value can receive a top-up whereby the value of those entitlements will be increased to the national average value.

The Young Farmers Scheme is a separate scheme that provides for an additional payment to young farmers based on eligible activated entitlements.  Payment under the scheme is a flat rate payment issued to eligible applicants and is paid per activated entitlement, subject to a maximum of 50. This scheme operates each year from 2015 to 2019. The definition of a young farmer for the purposes of the Young Farmers Scheme is the same as that which applies to the young farmer priority category of the National Reserve.  While the same agricultural educational qualification requirement also applies, there is no off-farm income threshold applicable under the Young Farmers Scheme.

Both the 2018 National Reserve and the 2018 Young Farmers Scheme are currently open for online applications, with a closing date for receipt of applications of 15th May 2018.

Additional Schemes:

Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme:

Under the Areas of Natural Constrains (ANC) scheme farmers are paid on their lands which are designated as disadvantaged. Payment is made across 4 different land categories each of which is subject to area ceilings.

Applicants to the ANC scheme must, inter alia, maintain a minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare for 7 consecutive months of the scheme calendar year and also maintain an annual average stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare for the 12 months of the scheme calendar year. Stocking density requirements can be satisfied by cattle, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys and/or deer.

Under the 2018 ANC scheme the following land categories and payment rates apply. This table takes account of proposed new payment rates to be implemented further to an increased funding allocation of €25 million under ANC 2018. These increases are subject to Commission approval of an amendment of Ireland's Rural Development Programme.


Existing Rate

Proposed New Rate

Mountain 1st 10 ha



Mountain ha 11-34



More severe



Less severe



Beef Data Genomics Programme (BDGP):

It is not possible at this point to apply to participate in the BDGP as the closing date has passed.  

Green Low Carbon Emission Scheme (GLAS):

The participation target for GLAS set out in the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020 has already been achieved. There are no plans to re-open the scheme.

Knowledge Transfer Programme:

The Knowledge Transfer Programme is now closed for applications. However, where the herd number of an approved participant is transferred to a successor, applications from that successor will be considered for entry into the programme.

Sheep Welfare Scheme:

The Sheep Welfare Scheme is a four year scheme.  With the exception of new entrants to sheep farming as defined in the terms and conditions of the scheme, applications for participation in the scheme had to be submitted by the 3rd of February 2017.

The closing date for receipt of applications from new entrants to year 2 of the scheme has now also passed.  For the purposes of year 2 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme, a new entrant was defined as an applicant who has applied for a new herd number from 1st January 2017 and prior to the 31st of December 2017, or an applicant with an existing herd number who has not held or traded in sheep for a two year period up to 31st October preceding the scheme year.

New entrants will be able to apply to participate in year 3 of the scheme when the application process for new entrants is opened, which is expected to be in December 2018.

In general, in order to be eligible to participate in the scheme, applicants must have:

- Have an active DAFM Herd Number, or have applied for same before the closing date of the scheme, and keep breeding ewes.

- Submit a Basic Payment Scheme application for each year of scheme participation, and comply with the requirement to be an active farmer as per Article 9 of EU Regulation 1307/2013.

- Except in the case of new entrants, have submitted Sheep Census returns to the Department in respect of 2014 and 2015 by 31st October 2016.

- Have submitted a 2016 Sheep Census return by the required deadline and must submit a Sheep Census return within the specified timeframe for each year during the lifetime of the scheme (exception for new entrants in year of entry).  

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS):

An on line application can be made for the TAMS Schemes provided that all of the conditions of eligibility of the Schemes are met. Full details of the various TAMS Schemes are available on the Department’s website.