A young farmer, who appealed against a decision by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, has been successful.
The case has been highlighted in the Agricultural Appeals Office annual report for 2019.
An inspection, conducted in 2018, a year after they submitted an application to the Young Farmers Scheme, concluded that the candidate was ineligible as they were “not deemed to be in financial control of the holding”.
The terms and conditions of the scheme states that a 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”.
Such control, the report outlines, is demonstrated as follows: the young farmer’s name is on the herd number; the young farmer’s name is on the bank account used for the purposes of the receipt of payments under the Basic Payment Scheme and Young Farmers Scheme.
Applicants under the scheme may be subject to inspection, which may take the form of on-the-spot inspections or administrative checks.
In the case of administrative checks, applicants may be asked to submit original hard copies of supporting documentation for verification purposes.
The on-the-spot inspection will involve two elements as follows: (i) a check to determine if the land declared is eligible, which can be undertaken by means of field visits on the ground or by means of remote sensing using up-to-date satellite imagery;
(ii) a check to see if the young farmer is in managerial and financial control, either solely or jointly with others as the case may be, by means of a visit to the holding(s).
In addition, they will be asked to provide original documentation to demonstrate that they meet the age and educational requirements.
With regards to managerial control, applicants will have to demonstrate that they are actively involved in the running of the farm and show full knowledge of the daily management of all enterprises on the holding.
Applicants will also be required to demonstrate full financial control (solely or as part of a group) and control of the land and will be asked to provide documentation to evidence the managerial and financial control.”
On examination of all available evidence the Appeals Officer, was of the view that the appellant was exercising “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”.
Their name was on the herd number and the joint bank account used for the purposes of the receipt of BPS and YFS payments, the only two specified payments referenced in the scheme terms and conditions.
“In respect of section 5.6 of the scheme terms and conditions, the Appeals Officer was cognisant of the fact that in regard of the inspection, the Department found no issues regarding their involvement with the running of the farm and knowledge in respect of the farming operation.”
Based on matters arising at the oral hearing and the Department’s file, the Appeals Officer found that the applicant fulfilled all the eligibility requirements with regard to being in financial control of as laid out in Section 1.2 of the 2017 Young Farmers Scheme terms and conditions.