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Joining your parent’s herd number: What should you know?

In this article, That’s Farming looks at the potential aspects of adding your name to the farm/your parent’s herd number.

We discuss the application process, payments you can avail of, the benefits and requirements to make a joint venture successful.

With the next generation of sons and daughters interested in getting involved in the family farm, joining the herd number is an option.

A herd number is an administrative device, the Department of Agriculture issues for the purposes of disease control.

A herd number, however;

  • Does not infer ownership of lands;
  • Ownership of any animals tested or kept under that herd number;
  • Entitlement to payments under any schemes the department operates.

It is a major decision you may face on your farm, whether or not you are ready to make a change in your farm structure.

How to apply 

The application process takes time, with the pandemic causing some applications to take longer to process than others. If you are considering this step, allow sufficient time.

When joining a herd number, there is no requirement to change the herd number.  To add a name to the current herd number, you need to complete an ER1.1 form.

For further information completing this form, contact your local Regional Veterinary Officer and your agricultural consultant.

Following this application, the DAFM requires a transfer of entitlements into both names for scheme applications, such as those we have mentioned below.

H3: Schemes and payments
Young Farmer Scheme/National Reserve

According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, where a young farmer undertakes the farming activity as part of a joint herd number, it will consider the group eligible for the Young Farmers Scheme, if you meet the following conditions:

  • At least one person in the group must meet the definition of a young farmer;
  • That young farmer must exercise effective and long term control either solely or jointly within the group in terms of decisions related to the management, benefits and financial risks of the group;
  • The young farmer’s name is on the herd number;
  • Also, the young farmer’s name is on the bank account they use to receive payments under the Basic Payment Scheme and Young Farmers Scheme.
How to calculate payment

The DAFM will calculate the ‘five-year’ payment eligibility period 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 as part of a group or individually, the DAFM will include this period of activity when calculating the five years.

The YFS payment will be calculated as 25% of the national average payment per hectare multiplied by the number of entitlements activated by the successful applicant, subject to a maximum of 50 activated entitlements, where individual, group, or company.

To be considered eligible under the National Reserve, the Young Farmer applicant must have successfully completed an agricultural qualification at FETAC Level 6 or its equivalent by May 17th.

A gross off-farm income limit of €40,000 will apply to applicants to the National Reserve.

Successful applicants under the National Reserve will be eligible for an allocation of entitlements on land for which they hold no entitlements and/or a top-up to the value of existing entitlements held by them, where such entitlements have a value below the National Reserve national average.

Benefits of a joint venture

Joining the herd number in a way in which parents and a son/daughter share daily duties and management is of great benefit to the next generation in developing their farming careers.

Furthermore, the most essential benefit of joining the farm herd number is that they have an input into decision making and management of the farm.

In turn, this allows your son or daughter to put the knowledge and experience they have attained during their agricultural education into practice.

In a family situation, this joint venture can host a platform to intertwine the parent’s experience as well as the youthful enthusiasm and modern thinking of the future successor.

Requirements for a successful joint venture

To work effectively, both parties must clearly understand and commit to the concept of working together as a joint venture. Resultantly, the arrangement must be to benefit both parties involved.

The joint venture includes two parties; each should have an input into the management of the farm daily. This is the key to a good partnership.

Trust and confidence are two traits that both parties should effectively exercise for the duration of the joint venture.

Finally, while a joint venture is similar to a Registered Farm Partnership, they are not the same business concept.

If interested in moving to this stage in your farm business, please liaise with professionals, including your:

  • Agricultural consultant;
  • Solicitor;
  • Accountant.
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