O’Neill highlights importance of agri qualification

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill met with some of the young Farmers undertaking their Level II Agricultural Qualification at CAFRE's Loughry College and highlighted the importance of how an educational qualification will assist in the development of farm businesses. More than 2,700 young farmers have applied for the level II qualification, funded by funded by the Department of Agriculture, and they will complete the course in April 2015. Pictured are: Front row (left-right) Kieran Lynch, Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill, and Patricia McCullagh. Back row (left-right) Jay price, Patrick O'Hanlon, Martin McCullagh and Brendan McCullagh.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill met with some of the young Farmers undertaking their Level II Agricultural Qualification at CAFRE's Loughry College and highlighted the importance of how an educational qualification will assist in the development of farm businesses. More than 2,700 young farmers have applied for the level II qualification, funded by funded by the Department of Agriculture, and they will complete the course in April 2015. Pictured are: Front row (left-right) Kieran Lynch, Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill, and Patricia McCullagh. Back row (left-right) Jay price, Patrick O'Hanlon, Martin McCullagh and Brendan McCullagh.

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Do not underestimate how much an educational qualification will assist you in the development of your farm as a business.

That was the key message from Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill when she met young farming students taking the Level II qualification at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

While the qualification is one of the requirements for those applying for the Young Farmers’ Payment, as well as new entrants to receive an award from the Regional Reserve under the reform of CAP, the minister said it has further benefits for both student and the industry.

Speaking after meeting students taking a night course at CAFRE’s Loughry Campus, the minister said: “The response to this training has been very positive. There are now over 2,700 students enrolled on the course, which is being delivered at all three CAFRE campuses as well as a number of other local venues.

“I have heard personally from the farmers on the course and the feedback has been positive. Farmers are able to attend the course in a group according to their farm type, which provides them with the knowledge and skills to help equip the agriculture industry to manage their farm businesses into the future.

“This qualification provides an incentive for young farmers but it will also assist in the development of a well-skilled industry and that is important for the future of agriculture in the north.”

The Level II training course began in October 2014 and runs for 20 weeks throughout the autumn and winter, so that delivery and assessment of the course is completed by the end of April 2015. This will ensure that all assessments and administrative processes are completed in time, to enable those who successfully achieve the qualification, to apply for the Young Farmers’ Payment and/or the Regional Reserve by the deadline for submission of the Single Application Form by 15 May 2015, provided they meet all of the scheme eligibility criteria.