Gaining access to capital has been identified as a roadblock for many young farmers who want to get up and running on their feet in the farming world.
With only 6% of young farmers aged under 35, our industry need to meet the needs of these farmers of the era.
We have pinned down a number of routes that young farmers are undertaking.
Again, we have just summarised some possible options.
- Collaborative Farming Grant Scheme
The addition of this scheme under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 encourages farmers to establish partnerships.
The Department state that the objectives of the Grant Scheme include the introduction of new skills through the educational qualification of entrants, bring value and improve the age structure of the farming community.
Ideally to bring about ‘stronger economic potential’, at least one partner who qualifies as a young farmer, which is stated as under the age of forty, should have a partner who is over 60 years of age, as part of the scheme.
Online applications close on Friday 28th of July 2017.
- Succession Farm Partnerships
Keeping in the area of partnerships, an incentive of €5,000 for up to five years is being offered.
On 1st June, it was announced that Minister Michael Creed, has recently launched the new succession farm partnership register.
This followed from a meeting with James Healy, President of Macra na Feirme.
Independent legal and financial advice is strongly advised. See more here.
- Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme
Under TAMS II, farmers can avail of the €120m Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, which focuses on physical assets.
The objectives include the improvement of their holding or to assist with entering into the sector.
The Department has stated that grant aid of 60% is available to young farmers, while others that fall outside this category are expected to avail of grant aid of 40%.
A number of projects can be funded under this scheme. The list is not limited to animal housing, manure pits, calving and bull pens and fixed sheep handling units.
A revised marking sheet was released on 1st July 2017 by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and can be found on their website.
A full list of requirements and eligibility criteria can be found here.
- Loan Availability
Head of Agriculture at Bank of Ireland, John Fitzgerald spoke with That’s Farming recently, to discuss possibilities around gaining access to loans.
Mr. Fitzgerald stated how the track record of a young farmer will be reviewed when it comes to the consideration of a potential loan.
Instead of financial funds, equity and stock are deemed as eligible alternatives, Mr. Fitzgerald informed use.
Young farmers should note that loans in excess of a grant total of €65,000 will need land attached to them.
- The Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme
The Department is working in conjunction with the Strategic Banking Corporation of ireland to deliver this scheme to farmers.
This scheme opened on 31st of January 2017. Loans up to €150,000 for up to 6 years are among some of the features.
Successful applicants can use the loans for working capital requirements, as a more sustainable alternative to short-term credit facilities and as an alternative to merchant credit.
€150 million is available, with low-cost interest rates of 2.95%. See more information including requirements here.
A number of young farmers have applied for others including the National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme, however the deadline for these applications, as issued by the DAFM was 15th May 2017.