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Department must Ensure all Young Farmers are Aware of Scheme Changes

10 November 2015
Department must Ensure all Young Farmers are Aware of Scheme Changes

“All young farmers who have applied for the young farmer top-up and national reserve in 2015 need to make sure that they have registered and started their agricultural education in 2015”.

Bryan Hynes, chairperson of Macra na Feirme’s Agricultural Affairs committee said that this is a change from the previous understanding and has been clarified by the Department of Agriculture only today. There are about 1,200 young farmers who have yet to register for agricultural education and they now must also have started this education in 2015.

Mr Hynes said, “Macra understands that this more restrictive interpretation has arisen from the the EU Commission who have recently advised that in order to comply with the requirements of the National Reserve and Young farmer schemes 2015 applicants must have commenced their agricultural education in 2015”.

It has also been clarified that the Department of Agriculture will be writing to all affected young farmers shortly and will be advising them to register with Teagasc.

Furthermore the Department of Agriculture have said that they are in discussions with Teagasc about the providing a combined registration and course commencement day for young farmers before the end of the year. This would enable the affected young farmers to register and attend a course on a single day, thus fulfilling the requirement of having started in 2015. Macra has also been advised by the Department of Agriculture that no young farmer in this situation will have to pay education fees in 2015.

While this has caused much confusion amongst young farmers, Bryan Hynes said that it is essential that all affected young farmers are clearly written to by the Department of Agriculture and advised of this change to the requirement for agricultural education as soon as possible.