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Extension of New Entrants Scheme confirmed

9 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has confirmed the extension of the closing date of the New Entrant Scheme to February 2009.

The New Entrant Scheme supports young farmers under 40 years of age by paying up to £17,000 of the interest charges, over a five-year period, on loans invested for an agricultural purpose.

Announcing the extension the minister said:

"I can now confirm that I have put in place the necessary legislative amendments to extend the closing date for the New Entrant Scheme until 27 February 2009. This extension will leave potential applicants more time to prepare applications for funding under the £4.5m Scheme. However, if the available budget is fully committed before this new deadline, the scheme will close immediately.

"It is encouraging to hear that over 60% of the scheme's budget has already been allocated. CAFRE (College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise) advisers are currently working with a considerable number of potential new applicants to develop business plans which they can use to take to their banks to apply for a loan. I am committed to ensuring that we do all that we possibly can to ensure that young farmers take full advantage of the scheme on offer. Anyone who may be thinking about applying to the scheme should contact CAFRE with their proposal." ENDS

Note 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 this application.
  2. Following this initial application a Business Plan must then be prepared detailing 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 Keith Scott, Orchard House, tel: 028 7131 9900 or e-mail: [email protected] or online at:

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