The IFA is seeking an allocation of €100m for the TAMS scheme in the forthcoming Budget for 2018 to meet the on-farm investment plans of farmers and the commitments entered into with approvals already issued for the scheme.
National Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said that while payout of grant aid under the scheme has been sluggish to date due to IT issues in the Department of Agriculture, around €19.4m has so far been paid out to around 1,500 farmers who have completed work. A further 400 farmers are awaiting payment.
‘With about 10,000 farmers currently having approval to proceed with work and a further 1,500 awaiting approval, these farmers, and those who apply for the scheme over the coming months, must be catered for in the Government Book of Estimates for 2018 which will be announced on Budget day (October 10th)’
The IFA Rural Development Chairman pointed out that in the RDP 2014-2020, an allocation of €395m is allocated to TAMS. The scheme is a vital support mechanism for farmers who are modernising their farms, in some cases expanding their operations, and meeting higher environmental and animal welfare standards. It is vitally important the allocations in the RDP are fully utilised.
In relation to changes to the scheme, IFA has recently made a submission to the Department of Agriculture urging the inclusion of additional items for grant aid and alteration to the terms and conditions for some sectors. IFA is proposing the inclusion of underpasses, feed bins for all sectors, farm roadways, new buildings for the pig and poultry sectors and rubber slat mats. IFA has also presented a case for an increase in the investment limit for the intensive sectors and an immediate review of reference costings that determines the grant aid payable.
The current tranche of TAMS closes on the 6th October next.