With TAMS now up and running for more than two years, IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has said there is a danger that the full allocation of €395m, earmarked for the scheme in the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 will not be fully utilised.
Out of 13,752 applications, 11,635 Department of Agriculture approvals have been issued to allow farmers to proceed with works. So far, 2,456 claims for payment on completed works have been made by farmers, while 1,857 farmers have received their payment.
Joe Brady pointed out that it is important farmers who have completed investment work send their applications for payment in before the end of the year as there is a significant underspend for 2017.
Of the €50m allocated, €22.5m has been paid out this year, leaving sufficient funds to pay at least a further 1,500 farmers. It is open to farmers with approval to contact TAMS Division directly to withdraw their application if they do not intend to proceed with approved works.
The Department reports that all complete and accurate payment claims are being paid immediately. Participants and their advisors should ensure all payment claims submitted are as accurate as possible to avoid delays. TAMS Division may be contacted on 0761 064452 or at TAMS@agriculture.gov.ie if any support is needed.
Budget 2018 allocated €70m for TAMS. It is important that the allocation for 2017 is fully used as otherwise it will eat into next year’s allocation. All farmers whom have completed works are strongly encouraged to submit their payment claims immediately so that payment can issue before the end of this year. Average grants are running at €14,000 but in the case of young farmers, it is €26,000.
The Rural Development Chairman reminded farmers who applied for TAMS after the 6th tranche, which ended on 7th April last, that they have one year from the date of approval to complete work, and 6 months where equipment is involved. Previous to this, there was a 3 year window to complete work.
Joe Brady has called on Minister Michael Creed to show imagination by broadening the scheme to include underpasses and farm roadways as eligible items for grant aid. He said IFA is also seeking an increase in the upper investment ceiling of €80,000 for the intensive sectors.
IFA has also urged the Minister to deliver on the promise to increase the standard costs to determine grant aid as material and labour costs have increased significantly since they were set.