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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Next CAP: What supports are available for ‘young’ farmers?

Support for young farmers in the next CAP

The Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers (CIS-YF) is the Young Farmer Scheme’s successor in the next Common Agricultural Policy.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is dedicating 3% of the direct payments’ ceiling, approximately €35 million per annum, to this particular measure to support generational renewal.

Supporting young farmers 

It stated that attracting young farmers into the sector will help address the issue of an ageing farming population.

According to the DAFM’s draft plan, this will provide support to “appropriately qualified” young farmers entering the agriculture sector in the years immediately following the young farmer setting up as head of the holding, solely or jointly.

It stated that it would also provide certainty regarding the level of income support for eligible applicants for up to five years.

It is proposed that Ireland will define a young farmer as aged no more than 40 years of age at any time during the calendar year in which s/he, (i) first submits an application under Pillar I measures or (ii) submits an application under Pillar II measures, for young farmer support.

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Who is eligible?

According to the DAFM’s plan, eligible beneficiaries will be any farmers meeting the following conditions:

  • Is setting up a holding as head of the holding, solely or jointly, for the first time or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of an application under CIS-YF;
  • Has successfully completed a recognised course of education in agriculture, giving rise to an award at level 6 or equivalent on the National Framework of Qualifications;
  • Entitled to payment under the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS);
  • Aged more than 40 years of age at any time during the calendar year in which s/he first submits an application under CIS-YF.
Payment rates

During a recent public information meeting on the Common Agricultural Policy draft Strategic Plan 2023, 2027, the DAFM confirmed that the scheme is no longer based on payment entitlements but on eligible hectares to a maximum of 50.

During the meeting, Fran Morrin of the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, said:

“What we are forecasting is a young farmers’ payment of somewhere between €170-€180 per eligible hectare declared by the young farmer. This is a substantial increase on the current €68 per activated entitlement, which would be the case this year.”

“Young farmers who are currently in the Young Farmers’ Scheme, for example, have only completed one or two years of the five-year support period for this measure, will continue seamlessly onwards into the next CAP.”

National Reserve

Coupled with that, the DAFM also has a National Reserve, which is now a mandatory measure in the next CAP but is voluntary at present.

Morin confirmed that the DAFM would have a National Reserve for all years of the next CAP.

He outlined that the National Reserve would allocate payment entitlements at a national average value to young farmers and new farmers.

He explained that “a new farmer is someone who is a new entrant to farming who is not a young farmer, essentially they are older than forty years of age”.

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