IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to use the flexibility allowed by the EU Commission to extend the deadline to complete work under the TAMS I scheme from the end of August to the end of February next year.
This extension is necessary with €24m unspent under the scheme mainly in the Dairy Equipment and Sheep Handling and Fencing schemes, indicating that farmers need more time to complete work. If this money is not spent then the most of this funding will remain in Brussels as the co-financing rate is 85%.
Flor McCarthy pointed out that the current arrangement of the end of August completion and payment being made is unacceptable as there are still farmers who have not received an approval to proceed with work from the Department of Agriculture, particularly under the Farm Safety Scheme.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said that it was important that farmers are given every chance to complete work as the investment they carry out under TAMS I will not eat into the €80,000 investment limit under the new TAMS II scheme.
Meanwhile, Flor McCarthy has called for all TAMS II schemes to be open to all farmers now that the Young Farmer 60% grant scheme is open to applications. In addition, it is important that extra items are added to the scheme. These include sheep fencing, silage slabs and walls, grain storage and underpasses.
With €395m available in total for farm investment schemes in the RDP up to 2020 it vital that the Minister ensures that this funding is fully utilised in the lifetime of the programme.