08 Feb, 2024

Empowering young farmers to maximise grants and implement success strategies

Beginning your journey as a young farmer can be a daunting experience. Thankfully, there are currently some excellent supports available to help you get off the ground.

While this doesn’t deal with the obvious issues around the availability of land, etc, it does provide numerous grants and tax-saving opportunities. Here, we discuss these options along with guidelines on how best to maximise your time as a young farmer.

Young Farmers Schemes with the Department of Agriculture:

1. National Reserve for BISS Entitlements:

  • No farm income limits apply anymore.

  • Applications are made while submitting.

2. Young Farmers Top Scheme:

  • Originally, €64 for the first 50 hectares, now increased to €158 from 2023.

  • Claimable for five years from year of first application.

  • Applications are made alongside BISS in May.

3. TAMS Scheme:

  • Enhanced 60% per €80,000, moving to €90,000 threshold.

  • Applicable for RFP, sole trader, or LTD, but a joint herd number does not qualify for the 60% ceiling.

Qualifying as a Young Farmer:

  • Possess a level 6 agriculture qualification (Green Cert or equivalent).

  • Age requirement: Must be under 40 years old.

Determining the Start Date for Farming:

  • Obtaining a herd number in one’s name, being named as a director/ shareholder in a Limited Company, or being part of a registered farm partnership, all constitute the start date.

Where are our Young Farmers?

Our survey revealed Cork has the highest number With Laois coming in next Cavan rounds out the top 3.

The 5-Year Rule:

  • Young farmers lose eligibility after 5 years of farming, but they have a 5-year window from the date of association with a herd number to claim schemes.

Tax Savings through Stamp and Stock Relief:

  • Young farmers can avail of certain exemptions from stamp duty on the purchase of land.

  • Young farmers may avail of 100% stock relief in their 5 years as a young farmer.

Life beyond year 5

A robust plan must be in place to ensure the farm is viable beyond year 5. For this reason, when starting out the young farmer should view the additional topup payment as a source of funding to invest in the farm’s long-term viability. This could be used in conjunction with the stock relief available to grow stock numbers over the 5 years.

The key is that the farm must show the ability to survive without the additional top-up.

Key Steps:

Timing is key. If you plan to avail of the TAMS grant, ensure this investment is viable in your first 5 years. Otherwise, hold off on commencement.

Treat your young farmers’ top-up correctly. It doesn’t last forever, so have something to show for it.

Liaise with your accountant to ensure you fully use stamp duty and stock relief benefits. The stock relief, in particular, has huge potential to save on tax as you build your herd in your early years.

This article was first published in our 2024 Irish Farm Report.