New young farmer support measure opens next week

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YFCU president Martyn Blair is recommending that every potential claimant should seek out all the advice that is now available prior to submitting an application for the new young farmer support measure.

“The submission period for the new scheme commences next Monday, March 15th, and continues through until the middle of May,” he said.

A good starting point in this regard would be a chat with one of the department’s new CAP advisors. At our recent information meeting, held in Loughry College, it was made clear that these specifically trained mentors will be available in all DARD Direct Offices.

YFCU president Martyn Blair

“It is important that those farmers intent on applying for the scheme should do so with all possible haste. Leaving the matter to the last minute would be a mistake. But it is equally essential for young producers to get as much guidance as possible before submitting their forms.

“A good starting point in this regard would be a chat with one of the department’s new CAP advisors. At our recent information meeting, held in Loughry College, it was made clear that these specifically trained mentors will be available in all DARD Direct Offices. They can be contacted by phone or one-to-one meetings can be arranged.”

The YFCU representative went on to point out that professional advice should also be sought from solicitors, accountants and the banks.

“Each application submitted will be different. Some young farmers may be applying as head of holding in their own right: others may decide to go down the partnership route. And it is, therefore crucially important that each applicant receives the professional guidance that is specific to their case,” he explained.

“Department advisors will also be able to providing up to date information on how the national reserve will be managed. Again, this will be an important issue in framing the applications submitted by young farmers.”

The big imponderable remains that of gauging how many young farmers will actually apply for the new support measures.

“We won’t know the answer to that question until after the close of application date, which is May 15th,” said Blair.

“The department knows the number of people currently attending the Level 2 qualification courses. But significant numbers of these people may decide not to apply for the scheme: we just don’t know. And then there are those people who already meet the qualification criteria. But nobody actually knows what their numbers actually total.”

He concluded: “There are also numbers of young farmers who have not made up their minds as to whether they should apply for the new scheme in the first place. However, this is not a problem as the farmers concerned can hold off and submit an application in 2016.”