IFA National Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins has expressed concern that the extension by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed of the closing date of Tranche 17 from April 24th to June 6th will curtail investment on farms later this year.
“It would be more beneficial if the Minister closed Tranche 17 as normal and opened Tranche 18 as planned. Farmers see no value in extending the date as it will lead to a serious backlog of work later in the year when the focus should be on getting the rural economy moving when we emerge from the restrictions imposed by COVID19,” he said.
Michael Biggins pointed out that many farmers had already made their applications in this current tranche, expecting that Department of Agriculture approval to proceed would be given in the May/ June period.
“By extending the closing date, many of these farmers are concerned that they will not get the go ahead until the autumn which will leave very little time to complete work before the onset of winter or the start of milking next spring. The 20% carryover of applications from one tranche to another must also be sorted, but the Minister’s move is actually only adding to this problem.”
He said the Minister should reconsider his decision in the light of getting investment moving again as soon as restrictions are lifted.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman wants grant payment for completed works to continue. “Pre-payment checks must be waived so that there are no barriers to payment. The payment of €1.5m per week must continue as any delay would have a huge cash flow impact on farms,” he concluded.