Scheme opens for applications

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Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) president Roberta Simmons has welcomed this week’s announcement by agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill that the Young Farmers’ Payment/Regional Reserve schemes for 2016 are now open.

“This is the second year of a support programme, which YFCU campaigned strongly to have structured in ways that best meet the needs of young farmers here in Northern Ireland,” she said. “And I am happy to report that, for the most part, we succeeded in achieving this aim.

“There is already strong evidence to confirm that the monies now targeted at young farmers are making a very positive difference on farming businesses right across Northern Ireland.”

The YFCU president is advising as many young producers as possible to apply on-line.

“This ties in with the industry recognition that the greater the level of on-line applications, the more flexibility the farm minister will have to introduce advance Pillar 1 payments in the future.

“Young Farmers and those applying as New Entrants to the Regional Reserve need to provide their supporting evidence before April 15th.

“In addition, 2016 Single Application forms must be submitted by May 16th in order to avoid late claim penalties.”

Simmons also confirmed that YFCU continues to liaise with the Department of Agriculture on a range of key issues that will impact on the future opportunities for young farmers in Northern Ireland.

“We have been involved recently in discussions on how the various aspects of the new Rural Development Programme can be tailored to meet the needs of our members,” she said.

The YFCU participates in a wide range of stakeholder activities on behalf of both young farmers and rural youth. These include the implementation of the new Rural Development Programme, benchmarking, the improvement of farm safety standards and working with schools.