Thursday, 10 May 2018

Ceisteanna (260)

Charlie McConalogue


260. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a matter (details supplied) in respect of rule changes to an EU measure. [20787/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

EU Regulation 2017/2393 came into effect on 1st January 2018.  This Regulation included an amendment to EU Regulation 1307/2013 regarding the number of years a successful applicant under the Young Farmers Scheme (YFS) can receive payment.  The relevant amendment is in two parts.  The first part of the regulatory amendment provides that YFS applicants may receive payment for five years starting from the first submission of an application for payment, provided that the application takes place within five years of the commencement of farming.  This period of five years also applies to farmers who had received payment under the scheme in respect of applications prior to 2018.  The second part of the regulatory amendment provides that it is optional for Member States to extend the provision to young farmers who set up a holding in the period 2010-2013, and who had received payment under the YFS in respect of applications before the 2018 scheme year. 

Ireland has applied the maximum 2% of the national ceiling to create a YFS fund of €24 million annually.  Ireland has also utilised the option to overestimate the BPS ceiling in order to take account of unused YFS funds and this funding was used to allocate entitlements to young farmers and new entrants under the 2017 National Reserve.  Therefore the allocation of €24 million is fully utilised in Ireland.  If Ireland opted to implement just the first part of the amended regulatory provision it would result in a windfall gain for some Young Farmers Scheme applicants who had commenced farming between 2010 and 2013 and who have already received payment based on the regulatory provisions applying at the time.  It is estimated that the additional cost of implementing just the first part of the regulatory amendment in Ireland would be in excess of €5.5 million in 2018 and €7.5 million in 2019 which would result in a requirement for a linear cut to all farmers’ basic payments in order to fund this additional spend under the Young Farmers Scheme. 

It is for this reason that Ireland will implement the relevant regulatory amendment in Regulation 2017/2393 in full.  This will provide for a situation where with effect from the 2018 scheme year, successful applicants under the Young Farmers Scheme who commenced farming from 2014 onwards and submit their first YFS application within five years of commencement of farming may receive payment under the YFS for five years.  Young Farmers Scheme applicants have been notified of this position in the Terms and Conditions of the 2018 Young Farmers Scheme.