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Young Farmers Scheme & National Reserve 2017 Now Open For Applications - Creed

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has today announced the opening of the online system for submission of applications to both the National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme in 2017. 

Minister Creed said “The National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme are key measures in encouraging and facilitating the entrance of young, well educated persons into the farming sector”.

As previously announced by the Minister, just over €5 million has been provided in funding for the National Reserve in 2017 following a linear cut to the value of all Basic Payment Scheme entitlements.  This amount is equivalent to the amount of unspent funds under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2015 which was added to the Basic Payment Scheme financial ceiling.

The EU regulations governing the operation of the National Reserve provide for priority access to the mandatory categories of ‘Young Farmer’ and ‘New Entrant to Farming’.  Successful applicants to the National Reserve receive an allocation of entitlements at the National Reserve National Average value or a top-up to the national average value on entitlements that are below the national average.  The National Reserve in 2017 will be targeted specifically at educated young farmers and new entrants to farming who fulfil specific objective criteria.

The Young Farmers Scheme is a separate scheme with just over €24 million in funding available each year from 2015 to 2019.  The scheme provides an additional payment to successful applicants per activated entitlement.

Applications under the 2017 National Reserve and Young Farmers scheme must be submitted using the online facility available at  The full Terms and Conditions of both schemes is available on the Department’s website at

The Minister concluded “the 2017 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme offer an opportunity to build on the huge success in supporting the regeneration of agriculture in Ireland since 2015 which has seen well over 6,000 young farmers and new entrants benefit from Direct Payment measures to help underpin the agriculture sector in Ireland in the coming years.

Notes for Editors

Definition of ‘Young Farmer’

To qualify as a ‘young farmer’ an applicant must meet the following conditions:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he is no more than 40 years of age during the calendar year in which s/he submits an application under the Basic Payment Scheme;
  • S/he is setting up an agricultural holding for the first time or has set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of the Basic Payment Scheme application.

Definition of ‘New Entrant to Farming’

A ‘new entrant to farming’ is defined as:

  • S/he is participating in the Basic Payment Scheme in the year s/he submits an application;
  • S/he must have commenced the present agricultural activity in the 2015 calendar year or any later year;
  • S/he did not have any agricultural activity in his/her own name and at his/her own risk in the five years preceding the start of the present agricultural activity;
  • S/he must submit an application for the Basic Payment Scheme not later than two years after the calendar year in which s/he completed the agricultural activity.

Other eligibility criteria

Applicants will be required to have successfully completed a recognised agricultural education course giving rise to an award at FETAC Level 6 or its equivalent by the 15th May 2017. 

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 57/2017 (pdf 189Kb) 

Date Released: 29 March 2017