Sinn Féin - On Your Side

New Entrants Scheme Extended

6 December, 2007


Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has announced an extension to the closing date of the New Entrants Scheme to February 2009.

The Minister made her announcement on a visit to the farm of County Tyrone farmer Lindley Houston. Lindley, from Plumbridge outside Omagh, has been successful in his application to the Scheme to build up his milk business. After completing his National Diploma in Agriculture at CAFRE's Greenmount Campus in June 2006, Lindley came home to the 179 hectare family dairy and sheep farm business.

The New Entrants Scheme pays young farmers under 40 years of age up to £17,000 of interest over a five-year period on loans invested for an agricultural purpose.

In her announcement, the Minister said:

"The Scheme was originally due to close in June 2008. However, I am pleased to announce that, subject to the necessary legislative amendments, the closing date of the Scheme will be extended to 27 February 2009 or when the £4.5million budget has been fully committed, whichever comes sooner."

During her visit to Lindley's farm the Minister said:

"I am impressed by Lindley's resourcefulness and vision. He has invested in a new cubicle house and feed passage for the dairy herd facilitating improved cow comfort and mechanised diet feeding. All of this development was supported through the New Entrants Scheme paying the interest on the money borrowed. I am also encouraged to hear that already the investment has led to a significant improvement in his milk business.

"Lindley's entrepreneurial spirit is an example to other potential young farmers showing how the New Entrants Scheme can play a key role in assisting young farmers to remain on the land and contribute to the rural economy. I would also like to take this opportunity today to call on any other potential young farmers to look seriously at the New Entrants Scheme as a means of modernising or expanding their farm and allowing their farms to thrive for years to come." ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. To be eligible for the Scheme, applicants must be under 40 years of age at the time of making an application on Form NES 2. Also, applicants need to have become Head of Holding within the 12 month period prior to making application.

2. A Business Plan must detail the project for which the loan is to be obtained. The project must have an agricultural purpose and it must promote additional farm investment. The purchase of land, Single Farm Payment entitlements and farm machinery for contracting purposes are ineligible for support.

3. The maximum amount of aid for each applicant is £17,000 and the maximum duration of subsidised interest payment is five years. The applicants and their lending institution will agree the amount of the loan, the repayment schedule and the rate of interest. Further information, explanatory booklets and application forms are available from Philip Downey, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), tel: 028 7772 1819 or Keith Scott, Orchard House, tel: 028 7131 9900 or e-mail: [email protected] or online at: www.dardni.gov.uk/index/grants-and-funding

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