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6. Structural Improvements

SCHEMES OF EARLY RETIREMENT FROM FARMING

SCHEME OF EARLY RETIREMENT FROM FARMING (1994-1999)

Participants in this first Scheme received pension payments for ten years or until their 70th birthday, whichever was the sooner, provided they and their transferees continued to comply with their undertakings. The Scheme also provided for pensions for retired farm workers. The closing date for applications under this Scheme was 31 December 1999. The maximum annual pension payable under this Scheme was increased to €14,075 with effect from November 2006.

SCHEME OF EARLY RETIREMENT FROM FARMING (2000-2006)

Participants in this second Scheme received pension payments for ten years or until they reached the upper age limit under the Scheme, whichever was the sooner, provided they and their transferees continued to comply with their undertakings. The Scheme also provided for pensions for retired farm workers. The closing date for applications under this Scheme was 31 December 2006. The maximum annual pension payable under this Scheme was increased to €15,000 with effect from November 2006.

SCHEME OF EARLY RETIREMENT FROM FARMING (2007-2013)

The Early Retirement Scheme (ERS3) 2007 was introduced on 13 June 2007. It is one of the measures provided for in Ireland's Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. Farmers who retire early under the Scheme may be eligible for a pension of up to €15,000 a year for up to 10 years. The Scheme also provides a pension for retiring farm workers, in certain circumstances. The Scheme is co-funded under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

The Scheme was suspended for new applications on 14th October, 2008. It was reopened temporarily from 23 September 2009 to 30 October 2009. The Scheme is again suspended.

NATIONAL RETIREMENT PENSIONS

The Early Retirement Pension is paid as a supplement to any national retirement pension which might be payable. Consequently, the amount of any national retirement pension must be deducted from the Early Retirement Pension. The definition of national retirement pension includes Old Age Pension (Contributory and Non-Contributory), Retirement Pension and Widow's Contributory and Non-Contributory Pensions. For the purposes of the Early Retirement Scheme, the Widow's Pensions are reckoned as national retirement pensions only when the recipients have reached the national retirement age (66 years).

SOW HOUSING WELFARE SCHEME

AIM

The aim of the Scheme is to assist farmers in upgrading and converting their existing sow housing to ensure compliance with EU animal welfare standards.

CONDITIONS

The Scheme is open to farmers who have a minimum of 60 production units from pig production and who meet the other eligibility conditions laid down in the Scheme. The standard rate of grant payable will be 40% of the approved costs, as defined in the Scheme.

Valid applications will be accepted by the Department up to 30 June 2012 and all work must be completed and a payment claim received by the Department by 31 December 2012. Selection criteria will be applicable in order to determine those applications which go forward to the approval process. The maximum grant payable under the Scheme is €120,000 per holding.

This Scheme is co-funded by the Irish Government under the Rural Development Programme 2007 - 2013 and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

POULTRY WELFARE SCHEME

AIM

The aim of the Scheme is to assist farmers in upgrading and converting their existing housing for laying hens to ensure compliance with EU animal welfare standards.

CONDITIONS

The Scheme is open to farmers who have a minimum of 350 laying hens on their holdings and who meet the other eligibility conditions laid down in the Scheme. The standard rate of grant payable will be 40% of the approved costs, as defined in the Scheme.

Valid applications will be accepted by the Department up to 30 June 2011 and all work must be completed and a payment claim received by the Department by 31 December 2011. Selection criteria will be applicable in order to determine those applications which go forward to the approval process.

This Scheme is co-funded by the Irish Government under the Rural Development Programme 2007 - 2013 and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.