Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has increased the timeline for achieving an agricultural qualification in order to get maximum benefit from direct payments to September 2016.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD has increased the flexibility on educational requirements for Pillar 1 in the new regime of direct payments.
To ensure that the benefits of the “young farmer” and “new entrant” categories are targeted at those who have a genuine interest in farming as a career, successful applicants are required to have completed a recognised FETAC level 6 course of education in agriculture. It has been decided that any person who meets the other eligibility criteria for the relevant schemes and who commences a qualified agricultural course anytime up to and including September 2016 will be accepted as a “young farmer” or “new entrant” in 2015.
Persons who meet the definition of “young farmer” will receive significant benefits in terms of preferential access to the National Reserve and also in terms of qualifying for an additional payment under the new Young Farmers Scheme. Similarly, the category of ‘new entrant’ will provide preferential access to the National Reserve for farmers who are establishing their holding for the first time or have established their holding in the previous two years but who cannot avail of the “young farmer” category due to their age.
This increased flexibility will ensure that the benefits of the ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant’ categories will be widely available even to those who are unable to complete their agricultural course by 2015. This flexibility does however come with a warning; any person who benefits from the National Reserve or the Young Farmers Scheme in this way, but who fails to complete the required course, will have to repay any benefits received.
Source: Farmers Journal
Elaine Silke – firstname.lastname@example.org
Researched by Elaine Silke