National Reserve to be funded by €5m but does it help everyone?


The Minister will launch the new National Reserve Scheme fund today but questions still remain over its help for all young farmers.

National Reserve to be funded by €5m but does it help everyone?

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  • 3 years ago

The Minister will launch the new National Reserve Scheme fund today but questions still remain over its help for all young farmers.

National Reserve to be funded by €5m but does it help everyone?

The Minister will launch the new National Reserve Scheme fund today but questions still remain over its help for all young farmers.

Funding for the empty National Reserve fund is to be announced today.

The National Reserve is designed to provide funding for farmers who qualify as Young Farmers, new Entrants etc.

The IFA describe the National fund for previous years as ‘’Farmers who meet the criteria of Young and New farmers, and who have a gross off-farm income of less than €40,000 in either tax years 2013 or 2014 were eligible for an additional allocation of entitlements on eligible land for which they held no entitlements and/or a top-up to the value of existing entitlements held by them, where those entitlements were below the national average."

The National Reserve Fund for 2017 will have €5m in the pot and will be aimed at young farmers and new entrants to farming. It should have about 500 applicants it is expected.

Successful applicants will receive an allocation of entitlements at the national average value of entitlements for the BPS which works out at some €185/ha.

The scheme is being funded by a cut to the value of all BPS entitlements. And the amount of €5m is the same as the unspent funds under the Young Farmer Scheme 2015.

Left out

From initial reports it does seem that the Reserve may not help Old Young Farmers or Forgotten farmers as a priority seems to have been placed on young farmers and new entrants.

Ciaran Staunton a Mayo-born politician based in New York, has previously spoken to That’s Farming on the government’s reliance on replenishing the National Reserve through claw-back derived following the sale of entitlements without land:

“DAFM keep referring back to lack of funds in National Reserve, while at the same time in denial that the sweetheart leasing deal, and not capping the payments at €100,000 are the reasons for an empty Reserve Fund.”

Staunton has previously stated to us the calculations for all entitlements leased and sold without land in 2016 as follows:

Sales of Entitlements without land: 233, value €90,702

Leased Entitlements without land: 90,702, value €19,087,534.16

Amount of money clawed back into National Reserve on Sale without Land: €13,995.59

Staunton argues that if there was a 25% claw back on the lease or sale of entitlements there would be €4.7m in the Reserve.

This together with the newly found money would place nearly €10m in the national reserve pot.

Hectares

It is still unclear what the hectare limit for the fund will be. The Maximum area to apply for entitlements is 90 hectares though many have asked that it be lowered to the national average of 30 hectares, thus meaning there will be more money to go around and larger farms will not eat up the fund as has happened before.

Under previous models farmers with 100 hectares could apply for 90% of funding

Opening

The opening of the new National Reserve will occur in March 2017 and full details including application forms with full terms and conditions will be available online.

The closing date will be May 15, 2017.

We will have a full report from the Minister’s announcement today.

The Minister said "The 2017 National Reserve will build on this progress in helping to provide a solid basis for the future of the agriculture industry in Ireland.”

For more information on our work into the National Reserve read here.

Eligibility
The Department has laid out the eligibility for the applicants to the scheme.

Definition of ‘Young Farmer’

To qualify as a ‘young farmer’ an applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he is no more than 40 years of age during the calendar year in which s/he submits an application under the Basic Payment Scheme;
  • S/he is setting up an agricultural holding for the first time or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of the Basic Payment Scheme application.

Definition of ‘New Entrant to Farming’

A ‘new entrant to farming’ is defined as:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he must have commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2015 calendar year or any later year;
  • S/he 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;
  • S/he must submit an application for the Basic Payment Scheme not later than two years after the calendar year in which s/he completed the agricultural activity.

Other eligibility criteria

In line with the requirements under National Reserve schemes since the introduction of the Single Payment Scheme in 2005, successful candidates will be required to meet an appropriate agricultural education qualification standard.

Successful candidates will also be required to have an off-farm income of less than €40,000 in either of the 2015 or 2016 tax years. There is no off-farm income limit for the Young Farmers Scheme.



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