IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has urged the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to ensure that when TAMS II opens, once the RDP is approved in Brussels, all sectors of farmers have an opportunity to avail of vital investment support.
Following a recent meeting with the Department of Agriculture, Flor McCarthy expressed concern that TAMS II will be opened to certain sectors and groups of farmers. He said this would be unacceptable as all farmers require vital investment support to sustain their viability.
At the recent meeting with the Department, IFA pointed out that the scheme must be open immediately and that the full allocation of €395m of EU and national funding available in the lifetime of the RDP be utilised. The current tranche system whereby allocations are provided on a 3-monthly basis has proven to be very onerous and has led to a slowing up of investment plans on farms. The Minister must ensure flexibility in the tranche system so that farmers who require urgent investment are given priority.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman said that under the Young Farmer Scheme there should be a 3-year period for a young farmer to obtain the educational requirement to secure the additional support if they do not have it at time of application. The Young Farmer Scheme must be applied in a flexible way so that all young farmers can qualify.
In addition, Flor McCarthy said that in the case of partnerships, the requirement that the young farmer must have 51% of the profit to secure either the top-up or the priority entry into the scheme as well as higher investment limits is unacceptable as it could rule out some young farmers. IFA wants a flexibility to ensure that where a young farmer is in a partnership, account is taken of labour input rather than profit distribution.
The other priorities for TAMS II must involve maintaining investment limits which applied under TAMS I, the inclusion of a wide range of investment items, slurry storage on farms, the inclusion of all farm safety aspects of TAMS I and a regular review of the reference costs.
Concluding, Flor McCarthy said that the Minister must also ensure that the administrative delays that occurred under TAMS I must not recur under TAMS II. The online application system must provide a dividend to the farmer which involves a much quicker turnaround between application, approval and payment.