West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Young people to benefit from CAP reform - Mc Aleer

Published: 17 September, 2014

West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer has welcomed the opportunity presented to young farmers as a result of the recent decisions made on CAP reform. Mr Mc Aleer was speaking after DARD officials confirmed to the committee that approximately 3500 people have enrolled on the Level 2 course which is required for entrance to the Young Farmers Scheme (YFS). According to Mr Mc Aleer, who sits on the DARD committee 'This is good news for the industry and evidence that young people are seeing agriculture as a serious career option. The YFS offers the added incentive of a 25% 'top up' to the basic payment for those who qualify and is limited to 90ha. 'It is important for applicants to note that in order to qualify they must be under 40 during the full calendar year that they apply and must be the head of holding for no more than 5 years. The officials confirmed that as head of holding they must be in a 'controlling position' in the farm business. 'Importantly, this is not a one-off scheme in 2015 but can be applied for in future years. However, at 2% of the direct payment budget ceiling, funding for the YFS is not finite. Also, if potential applicants already have a level 2 qualification with a farm business management module this may meet the educational requirements for the YFS, but I would strongly advise them to contact CAFRE for clarification. Mr Mc Aleer concluded 'The introduction of the YFS combined with substantial funding for the farm business improvement scheme, transition towards an equal rate and the eligibility of farmers who do not own entitlements to apply for new ones in 2015 has opened the door for many young people considering farming as a career choice. This is good for our industry and good for rural communities'.