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Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. What is meant by a “Registered Farm Partnership”?

A Registered Farm Partnership is a partnership that is registered with the Farm Partnership Registration Office, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

A Registered Farm Partnership is where two or more farmers (up to 10) come together to form a business structure, where they agree to share resources such as land, labour, facilities, management skills etc. Requirements for Registering of Farm Partnerships are available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and Teagasc websites.

Applications to register a Registered Farm Partnership can be e mailed to farmpartnerships@agriculture.gov.ie

An information booklet “Guidelines to forming a Registered Farm Partnership” can be found on the Teagasc website. This book also contains explanatory notes on the on all aspects to forming a partnership.

2. Can I start a partnership during a previous tax year?

The partnership normally begins at the end of the previous tax year. For example, if your tax year ends on the 31st of December, the partnership should begin on the following 1st of January. It is advisable to discuss this with your accountant.

3. Can I exclude some land from the partnership?

All lands farmed by the partners must be farmed in the partnership unless exempted by the Partnership Registration Office. For example, land under forestry, pigs, poultry, horticultural and equine enterprises can be exempted. Lands owned by the partners but not farmed by the partners can be left out of the partnership but the Partnership Registration Office must be informed of this land and a lease or rental agreement to a third party provided as evidence of not farming the land.

4. Why are State reliefs for Partnerships restricted to Registered Farm Partnerships?

Any relief measures for farm partnerships by the State can only be on the basis of a formal registration system for eligible partnerships. SI 247 of 2015 (as amended) provides for the registration of Farm Partnerships by the DAFM. At present these provisions are the only statutory basis for defining specific farm partnerships.

5. Do I have to change or lose my herd number?

No. There is no requirement to change the herd number when entering a Registered Farm Partnership. If a trained son/daughter who has never farmed in their own right previously is joining the partnership then they may be required to join the herd number using an ER1.1 form. For further information on the completion of this form is available from the Local Regional Veterinary Office and your agricultural advisor.

Where two farmers are coming together with two separate herd numbers, the normal practice is to have one herd number made dormant but not end dated so that it can be viable for scheme payments and transfer all the stock to the remaining herd number. Further discussions may be necessary with your agricultural advisor and local Regional Veterinary Office.

6. Do I have limited liability?

A farm partnership has unlimited liability. For this reason a well written partnership agreement is very important. A specimen agreement is available from Teagasc at http://www.teagasc.ie/collaborativearrangements/.

7. Do I have to transfer ownership of my entitlements/quota/land to the partnership?

A farmer does not have to transfer ownership of his entitlements/land to the partnership. S/he can simply licence them for use by the partnership and this licence can be built into the written partnership agreement.

Remember any change in the administration of a herd number must have a corresponding change with your Basic Payment Scheme Entitlements.

The Basic Payment Scheme is applied for by the partnership and payments are made to the partnership. However, the individual partners can continue to retain separate ownership of their entitlements.

8. How long do I have to stay in a partnership?

The minimum commitment is for five years. Where certain scheme benefits are availed of, each scheme has its own requirements, so discussion with your agricultural advisor is recommended.

9. Can I go into partnership with my spouse?

Yes, a spouse can register in a partnership on the Farm Partnership Register provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

Eligible Registered Farm Partnership’s, must have at least one Category 1 applicant.

The second partner can then be either a Category one or two applicant.

Category 1: S/he has been farming a minimum of three hectares in their own right for at least two years prior to entry into partnership
Category 2: Trained farmer with a minimum Level 6 agricultural qualification
Category 3: Any other person/entity

10. What educational certificate is required to qualify as a new entrant?

A QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture or equivalent is the required education standard for registering a partnership. A full list of recognised qualifications is available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine website. Qualifications that are not included on the approved list must be verified by Teagasc as meeting the required equivalence of Level 6.

However, to register a partnership, a category 2 partner must have at a minimum enrolled in an approved education course. Many of the scheme benefits will be withheld until such time as the category 2 partner (trained farmer) has completed the required level of agricultural education.

11. If I enter into a partnership with my son/daughter will I need to add their name to the herd number?

Yes, the herd number should be in the same name as the partnership. An ER1.1 form is required to add a name to a herd number. Advice on the addition of names to herd number should be sought from local Regional Veterinary Office (RVO).

12. Can I work part-time while in a partnership?

Yes, this should be agreed by the participating partners at the outset of the arrangement and written into the On-farm agreement. From a registration perspective, there is no limit on the earnings of a partner from off-farm work.

13. Is there a limit to the number of people who can be in a partnership?

The maximum number of people who can be in a partnership is currently 10 partners.

14. If land is co-owned but one of the co-owners is not going to be in the partnership what should I do?

A person who co-owns land is eligible to be a partner only where all the persons who co-own the lands either become partners or have been exempted from this requirement by the Minister. This exemption can be applied for by filling out a RFP/COE Form which can be sourced from the Partnership Registration Office.

15. How long does it take to register the partnership?

Once all the appropriate documentation is submitted the registration of partnerships should normally be completed within three to four weeks. However, if documentation is missing or inadequate, this will delay the process. Pay particular attention to the DAFM check list of required documentation for registration. Ensure that all documentation is thoroughly completed.

16. Can one of the partners be paid a salary?

It is a requirement that partnership profits/loss be divided by using a profit sharing ratio. The profit sharing ratio has to be clearly stated in the written partnership agreement. However, a partnership “Salary” can also be paid to the partners to remunerate them for their work and management input.

17. How much will it cost me to register a partnership?

The DAFM do not charge for registering a partnership or maintain a partnership on the register. The costs of setting up a partnership may involve legal costs, accountancy costs and consultant costs. A “Collaborative Farming Grant” is available to successful registrations on approval to go the register. This is a 50% grant on establishment costs on a maximum cost of €5,000. Therefore the maximum grant is €2,500.

18. What specific State reliefs or incentives are in place for registered farm partnerships?

Previous Finance Bills included a measure whereby partners in registered farm partnership can benefit from 100% stock relief for young qualified farmers and an enhanced 50% stock relief to all other partners on income tax in respect of increases in trading stock values currently up until 31st December 2021.

19. How many Registered Farm Partnerships are currently in existence?

There are currently approximately 3,355 RFP’s currently on the register in Ireland. Many of these are partnerships involve a parent and son/daughter.

20. Where can I learn more?

  • Teagasc website:
  • Contact your local Teagasc advisor/Agricultural Consultant
  • Publications and information available from Teagasc include,
    • Factsheet on Registered Farm Partnerships and Succession Farm Partnerships
    • Booklet – Guidelines when Forming a Registered Farm Partnership
    • Registered Farm Partnership Information and Application Pack
    • Taxation and VAT Issues for Milk Production Partnerships (2 Revenue leaflets)
  • Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine website
  • Consult with your legal advisor, accountant and agricultural consultant/Teagasc advisor
  • Talk to existing farmers in Registered Farm partnerships
  • Gordon Peppard, Farm Business Structures Specialist.
    Email: gordon.peppard@teagasc.ie

   June 2021