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Minister Coughlan announces details of the 2008 Single Payment Scheme National Reserve

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced details of the two categories under which farmers will be entitled to apply for an allocation of Single Payment entitlements from the 2008 National Reserve. The Minister said she has made her decision following consultation with the Single Payment Advisory Committee comprising representatives of the farming organisations, Teagasc and officials from her Department.

Farmers who inherit/ lease land

Farmers who inherited, leased or otherwise received free of charge, or for a nominal amount, from a farmer who retired or died before 16 May 2005, a holding that was leased out to a third party during the 2000 - 2002 reference period.

(Category A on the application form)

New entrants to farming

Farmers who commenced farming after 31 December 2005.

(Category B on the application form)

The Minister said that new entrants to farming were also catered for under the 2005, 2006 and 2007 National Reserve. Under the 2005 National Reserve new entrants who were farming leased or rented land were not eligible for an allocation on the grounds that they had the option of also leasing or renting in any entitlements from the farmer from whom the land was leased/rented. The Minister said there were also concerns surrounding the leasing of land by new entrants and the arrangements for consolidation of entitlements in 2005.

Under the National Reserve for 2006 and 2007 such concerns were mitigated to a large extent and new entrants who were farming leased/rented land were eligible for an allocation from the National Reserve provided the leased/rented land was declared on the Single Payment application for the previous three years.

The Minister said she has now decided that new entrants to farming will be eligible for an allocation from the 2008 National Reserve provided the land is available to the applicant and declared on the 2008 Single payment application form. The land may be obtained by inheritance, purchase, lease or rental agreement. Successful applicants will be required to commit to farming for a period of five years. Single payment entitlements allocated from the National Reserve must be used by the applicant each year for a period of five years following allocation. Unused entitlements will be returned immediately to the National Reserve.

The Minister also noted that the EU Regulations governing the National Reserve provide that entitlements allocated from the National Reserve to new entrants to farming must not exceed the regional average value of entitlements. In Ireland's case this is taken as the average value of entitlements in the District Electoral Division associated with the applicants herdnumber.

Under the 2008 National Reserve, a cap of €10,000 will be applied to all allocations of entitlements to new entrants. This cap will have little or no impact on applicants qualifying under the new entrant category as the average allocation under the 2005,2006 and 2007 National Reserve had been less than €5,000.

The Minister also said that she has increased the off-farm income limit for new entrants under the 2008 National Reserve from €20,000 to €30,000 to facilitate eligibility for a greater number of new entrant applicants to farming. The total income including any income from farming remains at €40,000. The educational qualifications that applied in other years will also apply again this year.

Applications forms for the 2008 National Reserve are now available on the Department's website http://www.agriculture.gov.ie (doc 76Kb)  from Department offices and from Teagasc offices.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 15 May 2008

Date Released: 09 April 2008