The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine recently announced a grant scheme to support the development of Collaborative Farming arrangements. Collaborative arrangements, such as farm partnership agreements, can bring about increased efficiency, economies of scale and improve work life balance for the participants.
With the ending of the milk quota regime earlier in 2015 the Department of Agriculture realised that an incentive was needed to encourage the establishment of such arrangements. Previously milk production partnerships received preferential allocations of milk quota. The Collaborative Farming Grant Scheme provides a financial payment to parties qualifying for the grant. The amount of the payment is 50% of the vouched (VAT exclusive) cost for each of the legal, advisory and financial services secured in the drawing up of the Farm Partnership Agreement, up to a maximum payment of €2,500.
The scheme is only open to new partnerships which are registered with the Department of Agriculture and which have a farm partnership registration number. It is not open to former milk production partnerships.
To qualify for the payment applicants are selected based on a marking scheme with payment priority being given to those with higher marks under the marking scheme if the number of applicants exceeds the funding available. A minimum of 45 marks must be obtained. The marking scheme is set out below.
|Partnerships with the following enterprises:
· Other Enterprises ( Horticulture, Pigs, Poultry, Goats)
· Two or more enterprises
|Partnerships involving two or more separate holdings||30 marks|
|Partnerships where at least one partner has the required level of agriculture qualification||20 marks|
|Partnerships with a young farmer (under 40 years of age) as a partner
Partnerships with a young farmer (under 40 years of age) as a partner and a partner over 60 years of age
|Partnership with at least one certified organic operator||5 marks|
Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.