IFA President Eddie Downey said that launch of the 60% TAMS II grant scheme for young farmers by Minister Coveney today is welcome but must be immediately followed by the opening of the scheme for all other farmers.
The IFA President said in the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020, €395m is available for the TAMS II scheme. Of this, €120m is being allocated to the Young Farmer Scheme, which is an important boost and will help in getting vital investment carried out on farms in various sectors.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy pointed out the five-year Young Farmer rule to avail of the higher grant is disappointing as this will limit the impact of the scheme. It is important that the allocation of funding for each tranche is front-loaded as there is a lot of pent-up demand for investment on farms.
Flor McCarthy said that the list of items eligible for grant aid is extensive but there are still a number of important areas that have not been included, among them: grant aid for sheep fencing, grain storage, underpasses, automatic scrapers, and mobile cattle crushes.
In relation to partnerships, IFA has welcomed the doubling up of the investment limit as well as the move to allow both the older and the young farmer to draw down 40% and 60% respectively on an investment limit of €160,000 (€80,000 each).
The 40% grant for other farmers covering all sectors must be introduced immediately. This is particularly relevant for farmers who require additional slurry storage and investment in dairy facilities in light of the abolition of milk quotas.
Flor McCarthy said the investment scheme must also be reviewed on an ongoing basis and funding should be directed at those areas where there is most demand. Investment in animal housing and slurry storage should be a priority for all farmers.