The Minister said "At a time when the dairy sector is facing many serious challenges, it is perhaps more important than ever to make every effort to encourage new thinking and new methods. Who better to bring that freshness than new entrants? All in the industry agree on the importance of attracting new blood and now is the time to press ahead with new initiatives. This new scheme is a serious effort to identify people who have a future in dairying and can demonstrate not just their potential but also their commitment to the sector".
The Minister emphasised that applicants will be carefully chosen based on their own circumstances and their potential viability as dairy farmers. A comprehensive business plan will have to be submitted, and all applications will be subjected to a rigorous assessment by an independent assessment group. In addition, successful applicants will be required to attend training courses facilitated by Teagasc and to provide financial statements on an annual basis to the Department.
Concluding, the Minister expressed the hope that the scheme will be well subscribed, and urged all potential applicants to ensure that they submit their applications by the deadline of 31 July. It is expected that successful applicants will be notified in September.