Help for farmers who have farmed without payments

If you established your farm holding in 2008 or 2009 and are under 40 or you were farming in 2013 and missed out on payments you can finally apply for payments to help with the running costs of your farm – agricultural advisor Mark McConnell explains what the “Old Young Farmers” and “Scottish Derogation” We all know how important payments are to the profitable running of any type of farm. A farmer that is farming without a payment that his neighbour has been receiving for whatever amount of years is farming at an unfair advantage. This was the basis of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) reform to level the playing field for all farmers. Level playing field with two new schemes There is a group of young farmers that started farming outside the reference period for the previous scheme which was 2000 to 2002. During the Cap reform negotiations that have taken place the past number of years in Europe it was noted by all member states that this group of farmers will have to be looked after in any negotiations that take place.  They can apply for help under Scottish Derogation which has a deadline of 29 May. Scottish Derogation will allocate payment entitlements to eligible farmers who never held entitlements under the Single Payment Scheme but who actively farmed in 2013. As part of the criteria applicants had to be actively farming in 2013 i.e. kept sheep, cattle, dairy cows or tillage. Proof will be requested to back this up. Find out more about applying online. Finally, help is on the way for a specific group of young farmers who have been farming at a disadvantage without a single farm payment for the last four to six years. A new era of payments We are currently in the first year of the new Basic Payment Scheme and most farmers have being receiving an annual payment called Single Farm Payment. However there was a group of farmers who did not have the opportunity to benefit from the Young Farmers Installation Scheme (which was suspended in 2008) and who in 2015 will not be eligible to qualify as a ‘young farmer’ under the new Basic Payment Scheme as it applies to farmers who established holding from 2010. These are farmers that started in farming in 2008 and 2009. The Old Young Farmer scheme will give these young men and women a chance to apply for their own payments, which they will receive for the next five years. Farmers in this category have the possibility of getting up to €250 per hectare approx for the next five years on land that they have no entitlements. Land they have entitlements (leased or owned) will be brought up to this level. Importance of farm payments The volatile nature of farming was clearly seen last year with the beef crisis, which resulted in farmers picketing outside every meat factory in the country. One factor in farming that remains stable for the most part is the payments that the farmer receives whether it is the Basic Payment Scheme, ANC (formerly DAS) or GLAS. These types of payments play a very important role in the day to day running of all types of farms in helping to pay the running costs of the farm. Old Young Farmers scheme – how it works New entitlements will be allocated on the basis of one entitlement per hectare of eligible land. Under the scheme you get: entitlements up to the value of the national average for lands on which you have no entitlements a top up on leased/owned entitlements up to the value of the national average Where’s the money coming from? The National Reserve Scheme was set up under the new Basic Payment Scheme. It gives priority to young farmers and new entrants to farming. It can also be used to give new entitlements or top-ups to farmers suffering from a ‘specific disadvantage’ – like the 2008/2009 group. How do I know if I’m a old young farmer? The same conditions apply to young farmers under the National Reserve Scheme: Hold a registered herd number Have a gross off farm income not greater than €40,000 Have completed a Fetac level 6 recognised course in agriculture or have signed up to start such a course by the 30th of September 2016 Be under 40 years of age at any time during the calendar year in which they first submit their Basic Payment scheme application And of course – you need to have established your holding in 2008 or 2009. What you need to do before 29 May 2015 Submit an online application – Old Young Farmers Submit a valid Basic payment scheme application form I need help Contact your private agricultural advisor or Teagasc advisor who can advise you on the scheme and apply online on your behalf. #Farming