A €2m fund aimed at helping older farmers with the costs of succession planning has been announced by the Department of Agriculture.

The new fund, which will be available from 2023 to 2027, is aimed at covering some of the costs associated with setting up a farm partnership arrangement or the advice costs for an older farmer to assist in developing a pathway to his or her retirement.

In practical terms, this means the scheme will cover vouched expenses for legal, accounting and advisory costs, at a rate of 50% of vouched costs, to a maximum payment of €1,500 per beneficiary.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the new fund will have the twin effects of supporting access to younger farmers, and helping to alleviate the perceived barriers to exit for older farmers such as financial concerns, suitability of collaborators or ensuring adequate care of the farm.

Eligibility for the older farmer measure will be dictated by his or her age, with EU rules allowing supports to farmers at retirement age or those that will reach it by the end of the operation.

Farm partnerships benefitting from the grant aid must be newly formed arrangements being entered on the register for the first time.