The Young Farmers Scheme (YFS) and National Reserve are both due to open for applications in the next week, according to Eddie Forde of the YFS section of the Department of Agriculture.
This will be in line with the opening of the Basic Payment Scheme.
He was speaking at an Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) environmental training day held in the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise, on Thursday 7 February.
The YFS was first opened for applications in 2014 and at that point was due to run until 2019.
However, according to Forde, there is uncertainty over whether it will continue going into 2020. “There is a lot of discussion currently going on to see if it [the scheme] will roll over. Right now, the Department does not know yet.”
He continued: “I don’t know where things will go but there is speculation that schemes will roll over [into 2020].”
As per the terms of the scheme, a young farmer is eligible to receive payments for five years through the scheme. First-time applicants must have started farming since 1 January 2014.
The educational requirements remain the same with a young farmer having to complete a Fetac Level 6, or higher, by 15 May 2019.
In 2018, the scheme was worth approximately €68/ha to successful applicants.
Funding of €3m has been allocated to the National Reserve for 2019.
The priority for the National Reserve will again be for young farmers and new entrants. To be eligible for the scheme as a new entrant, the young farmer must have begun farming in the 2017 calendar year or any later year.
A young farmer is eligible as a new entrant if they have not farmed in the past five years, even if they have farmed before this.
However, they must still comply with the other terms and conditions.