It came to my attention last Friday that the young farmers scheme which is to open at the end of the month will not accomodate many young farmers as they will not be able to join because of a change in the eligibility terms and I am calling on the Government and the main farming organisations to come out and clearly state what their position on this issue.
My information is that new rules state that a young farmer must have a ‘cert in hand’ to qualify and that situation has very serious implications for many young farmers. Teagasc and the colleges are just catching up on the backlog of farmers that wanted to do courses from 2015 . Young farmers who started courses last September are not eligible and won’t be eligible until 2018 and farmers who start this September will not be eligibile until 2019 which is totally unacceptable.
I want clarity on this issue and want to warn young farmers who might be leasing land not to be incurring financial probems while this situation remains uncertain and I want full clarity from the farming organisations and the Department on this matter. I also want politicians to stand up and be counted on this issue because young farmers need to know where they stand. There is not much point arguing your case as a politician only to discover that the farming organisations and others are doing the opposite. We need all stakeholders here to come clean and explin what the situation is. There were also question marks raised in Europe about how this scheme was operated in the past and we need clarification now. I will be sending a series of Parlimentary questions to the Department and the Minister on this important matter this week as a matter of urgency.