The benefits of completing the Green Cert are “numerous”, according to Brendan Garry, education officer at Teagasc Ballinrobe, Co Mayo.
Regardless of which pathway is chosen, completing the Green Cert course meets the training requirements of qualified, trained farmers for the purposes of current Revenue and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) schemes.
Within Teagasc and its network of providers, three options are available to students wishing to complete the Green Cert.
- Full-time two-year course in agricultural colleges across Ireland;
- A part-time option for over 23-year-olds;
- A distance education option (available in Teagasc Mayo centres) for students with a level 6 or higher non-Agricultural Award.
Completing the Green Cert
Throughout the course, participants will be exposed to the latest farming methods and technologies to equip young, trained farmers to successfully run and manage their farming enterprises.
Furthermore, there are many financial benefits to completing the course, including a potential exemption from stamp duty if the qualified farmer is under 35 at the time of the farm transfer or property purchase and fulfils all other requirements.
Under TAMS 3, it is expected that a qualified young farmer will be able to avail of 60% grant aid for a whole range of items for the first five years of their farming career up to the age of 40.
Farmers are encouraged to check out the full suite of eligible items on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s website.
Furthermore, final details of a new measure under TAMS known as the Women Farmer Capital Investment Scheme are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
It is expected that it will provide an opportunity for higher grant aid for female farmers ranging from 41 to 66 years of age.
It is not known yet the extent of agricultural education required for the scheme.
National Reserve and Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers
Moreover, young qualified farmers can also avail of financial incentives under the new National Reserve (NR) and the Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers (CIS-YF).
One common requirement is that the agricultural education element must be completed before your application.
Education is “a key consideration” when planning the transfer of the family farm, he comments.
Other financial benefits from completing the course include assisting applicants in meeting criteria for a range of taxation measures, including enhanced stock relief, consanguinity relief and agricultural relief.
According to Brendan, these reliefs can have a “major” impact on tax liability at the time of farm transfers.
Farm transfers, he comments, are “complex” processes involving a number of stakeholders and on foot of this, the state agency recommends discussing your situation with your accountant, solicitor and farm advisor at “your earliest opportunity”.
He continues: “Whichever course option suits your requirements, students who complete the Teagasc Green Cert course are introduced to a wide range of farming issues.”
“They visit top-performing farms and carry out a range of husbandry tasks on course days whilst developing friendships which last for life.”
“Variables such as farm size, student-farmer age, farm size, time spent farming, and duration of official farming career, plus other factors, all impact the extent to which students can benefit from the Green Cert qualification, so consult with your advisor or consultant if in doubt,” he concludes.