In this article, That’s Farming, looks at the 5-year period for young farmers and how to obtain maximum benefits from your annual applications to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Generally, we deem young farmers, or new entrants to farming, eager when it comes to obtaining their herd number to kick start their farming career. But, there are some things you should consider before taking the plunge.
To be considered a young trained farmer in Ireland, you must undertake an agricultural qualification to qualify for Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine subsidies.
There are also some third-level qualifications that automatically grant this qualification to you upon successful graduation.
Obtaining the Green Certificate
There is a range of courses available through Teagasc and other educational institutions that are offering full-time and part-time courses to obtain the necessary qualification to be deemed a young trained farmer.
According to Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027, young farmers are considered to be aged no more than 40-years-old at any time during the calendar year in which s/he submits an application for the National Reserve and meets the conditions for being ‘head of the holding’ and the requirements for the appropriate training and/or skills.
The ‘5-year’ period
The ‘five-year’ payment/eligibility period is not something which is commonly spoken about within the agricultural sector, and it is something of which many farmers are unaware.
It will be calculated from the time the young farmer qualifies for Young Farmer Scheme eligibility in the group.
In the case where a young farmer has already been carrying out an agricultural activity either individually or as part of a group/registered farm partnership/company, this period of agricultural activity will be included in the calculation of the five-year period.”
Moreover, this essentially means, that in to obtain both the Young Farmers Scheme and National Reserve, you must have obtained your herd number within the last five years.
For example, let us say you obtained your herd number in 2015, and have recently qualified as a young trained farmer, then you have surpassed the five-year period.
Furthermore, you would not be entitled to apply for the National Reserve or Young Farmers Scheme.
However, if you apply for the National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme after holding a herd number for three years, then you will obtain your entitlements from the national reserve.
In addition to this, it will be a 2-year period remaining to claim the Young Farmers Scheme.
You will obtain full advantage from these payments by submitting your application for both the National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme in the year of obtaining the qualification.
Young Farmers in the next CAP
The support for young farmers in the next CAP is known as Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers (CIS-YF).
The intervention is designed to provide support to appropriately qualified young farmers entering the agriculture sector in the years immediately following the establishment of a young farmer as head of a farm.
Similar to the previous scheme, the ‘five-year rule’ will continue to be implemented in this scheme, by providing applicants with a level of income support for up to five years.
In comparison to the above scheme, a payment per eligible hectare subject to a maximum of 50 hectares per eligible applicant is proposed under the CIS-YF intervention.
It is proposed to continue to grant support to farmers who have received support under the previous Young Farmers Scheme for the remainder of the period that the farmer is eligible.
On-farm Capital Investment Scheme
Moreover, in the proposed CAP Strategic Plan for 2023-2027, On-farm Capital Investment Scheme, known as TAMS as its predecessor, is available to young trained farmers at a rate of 60%.
The investment ceiling for this financial allocation has increased to €90,000, with a separate ceiling available for low-emission slurry spreading equipment.
TAMS was previously available to young farmers at a rate of 60% on a maximum ceiling of €80,000.
In addition, farmers should be aware that while the five-year period rule is in place for CIS-YF, it is not the case for the On-farm Capital Investment Scheme.
A young, trained farmer can apply for the On-farm Capital Investment Scheme after the five-year period of obtaining a herd number has passed, and can still obtain the 60% funding available.
In essence, most studying for their Green Certificate or other agricultural qualification are eager to purchase livestock of their own.
However, despite this, the information above should be considered an important factor in financial planning.
Following on from this, it is worthwhile to mention that there are some widely spread misconceptions in relation to obtaining a herd number as a young farmer.
There have been a number of cases whereby young interested farmers believed it was not possible to obtain a herd number without an accompanying qualification or Green Certificate.
In addition, young farmers who have recently completed, or are due to qualify with their Green Cert or other relevant qualification, should bare in mind the timeframe of obtaining herd or flock numbers.
In general, most District Veterinary Offices can take from two to three months to fully process applications, conduct inspections, etc.
To conclude, as a young farmer, aged above 18, you can apply for a herd number if it is absolutely required to establish an enterprise.
However, you will obtain maximum benefits through lodging an application for a herd number following the successful completion of an agricultural qualification.