Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue is expected to approve the continuation of the National Reserve fund for 2022, Macra na Feirme has revealed.

Department of Agriculture officials told agricultural stakeholders at a meeting on Thursday that the Department has recommended to the minister that the National Reserve be continued next year. It is now up to the minister to approve the recommendation.

In the meeting, stakeholders were also advised that the conditions on off-farm income and the cap on maximum number of hectares will be removed, with all other conditions remaining.

“This announcement is welcome news as the National Reserve is of huge importance to young farmers and new entrants,” said Macra president John Keane.

“The removal of certain conditional criteria offers additional much-needed support for young Irish farmers.”

Macra na Feirme was also informed that the National Reserve will be made mandatory in the new Common Agricultural Policy.

“Macra na Feirme has long been pushing for the continuation of the National Reserve and are delighted to know that our hard-work has paid off. The National Reserve is an important policy instrument to help young farmers to establish themselves within the sector,” added Keane.

Last year, some €3.6m was paid out for the National Reserve, with similar numbers expected again from the Department of Agriculture.