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Minister Smith announces details of the 2009 Single Payment Scheme National Reserve

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith, 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 2009 National Reserve.  The Minister said he has made his decision following consultation with the Single Payment Advisory Committee comprising representative of the farming organisations, Teagasc and officials from his 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 15 May 2007. (Category B on the application form) 

The Minister said that the new entrant category of the National Reserve, which has been in place since 2005 has been very beneficial in allocating Single payment entitlements to new entrants to farming. New Entrants to farming will be eligible for an allocation from the 2009 National Reserve provided the land is available to the applicant and declared on the 2009 Single payment application form. The land may be obtained by inheritance, purchase, lease or rental agreement. Farmers who commenced farming since 15th May 2007 may apply provided that they have not already benefited under the new entrant category of the 2008 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 be in accordance with objective criteria and in such a way as to ensure equal treatment between farmers and to avoid market and competition distortions. The value of entitlements allocated to new entrants will be the average value of entitlements in the District Electoral Division (DED) associated with the applicant's herd number. A new entrant may qualify for entitlements up to the value of €10,000 from the National Reserve.

The Minister also said that he increased the off-farm income limit for qualification under the new entrant category of the Reserve to €30,000 in 2008 to facilitate eligibility for a greater number of new entrants applicants to farming and these increased limits will be retained in 2009. 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 2009 National Reserve are now available on the Department's website www.agriculture.gov.ie, from Department offices and from Teagasc offices.  The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 15th May 2009.

14 April, 2009

Date Released: 14 April 2009