‘Still a number of farmers who don’t fall into prevailing category’
‘Continuing engagement with Minister about those exluded under existing criteria’
Sligo News File Online
“‘Old young farmers’ are farmers who established their holding between 1st January 2008 and 31st December 2009 and they are now eligible to apply for phase two of the National Reserve Fund when the application facility comes online in April,” says , Sligo – Leitrim Fine Gael Deputy Tony McLoughlin.
“While I welcome the announcement, I am conscious that there are still a number of farmers who don’t fall into this category and I will seek to raise this with the Minister on behalf of those farmers, who are under 40 years old, some of whom started farming before 2008 and some even as far back as 2000.
“The term ‘old young farmer’ describes a group of farmers who established their holding in 2008 or 2009 and did not have the opportunity to benefit from the Young Farmers Installation Scheme. The same farmers will also be ineligible to qualify as a ‘young farmer’ under the new Basic Payment Scheme in 2015.
“This group of farmers had fallen between the cracks and were therefore left at a major financial disadvantage. Many farmers in Sligo and Leitrim find themselves among this group and this is an issue which I have discussed with the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney in the past. Minister Coveney was very aware of this
issue and highlighted it in Europe during the CAP reform negotiations.
“The National Reserve that will be established under the new Basic Payment Scheme gives priority to ‘young farmers’ and ‘new entrants to farming’. However, it has been agreed that ‘old young farmers’ will be identified as a group suffering from a ‘specific disadvantage’ and so they can apply for the Installation Aid.
“All conditions that apply to defining a ‘young farmer’ under the National Reserve will also be applied to the ‘old young farmers’. As with the ‘young farmer’, those applying must be 40 years of age or under and must hold a qualification in agriculture at FETAC level 6.
“Online applications will be made available in early April 2015 and I would encourage all eligible persons to submit their application without delay.
“I commend Minister Coveney for the work he has done in this area, as well as all of the ‘old young farmers’ who have drawn attention to this very important issue. I will also continue to engage with young farmers who fall outside the criteria and the Minister to see if a resolution can be found in the near future.