There will be significant changes to the national reserve scheme in 2022, with the Department of Agriculture confirming to the Irish Farmers Journal that the off-farm income limit is being removed from the list of eligibility criteria, along with the removal of the land area.
Under the current scheme, applicants had to have an off-farm income level of less than €40,000, while the maximum area eligible for inclusion was 50ha.
The Department said the decision came as a result of an audit finding against Ireland by the European Commission.
It also informed the Irish Farmers Journal that provision has been made to continue the Young Farmers Scheme and national reserve.
A statement from the Department read: “A meeting of the direct payments advisory committee, comprising members of the main farming bodies and agricultural advisory services, was held on 7 October 2021 to make recommendations to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine regarding the continuation of the national reserve in 2022.
"Following consultation between the Department and the committee, provision will be made for the continuation of the national reserve in 2022 to support the two mandatory categories of ‘Young Farmer’ and ‘New Entrant to Farming'.”
Full details of the operation of the scheme, including terms and conditions, will be available when the scheme opens for online applications in 2022. This will coincide with the opening of online Basic Payment Scheme.