By FWi staff
YOUNG farmers in Belgium are being targeted for additional suckler-cow quota, as part of the annual handout from the national reserve.
To qualify, producers must have been under 40 years old on 1 January, 2000, have set up in farming within the past three years, and have not sold any quota during that time.
If these conditions are met, they will be eligible for a top-up, to cover any suckler cows and heifers held over and above their original allocation.
Claims will be scaled back proportionately if the reserve is oversubscribed.
This is in stark contrast to the UK, where there will be no such handout.
This is not because young farmers are being discriminated against, says NFU livestock adviser, Kevin Pearce, but simply reflects the fact that there is no national reserve this year.
Under Agenda 2000 the UK is losing 100,000 units of quota as the new regional ceiling is imposed.
To soften the impact, all of the national reserve is being used towards this, though producers will still face about a 4% additional cut.
“It affects the UK more than any other member state, as the rest were under-utilising their quotas anyway,” says Mr Pearce.
“We were about the only ones expanding our suckler herd in the base period.”
The national reserve should start to build up again in the UK next year, he adds, as the 15% siphon on transfers kicks in, and people start falling foul of usage requirements again.
Young farmers will then be a priority.