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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
World
Ciaran Moran Twitter Email

Farm roadways grants set to be approved under TAMS 3 scheme

The Department of Agriculture has said TAMS 3, which includes grants for farm roadways, is scheduled to open in January 2023

Farmers will be able to get grants for farm roadways and underpasses from January, however grant aid for dairy equipment is set to be capped.

Significant changes are expected to the investments eligible for the new TAMS 3 scheme with the investment ceiling rising from €80,000 to €90,000 and an increased grant rate of 50pc for Farm Safety, Organic, Solar and Lower Emission Slurry Spreading investments being introduced.

The standard grant rate will again be 40pc with young farmers (under 40 years of age) and women farmers up to 68 years, getting access to an enhanced grant rate of 60pc, providing they meet the necessary eligibility requirements.

The last tranche of TAMS 2 will close on December 16, 2022. The Department of Agriculture has said TAMS 3 is scheduled to open in January 2023.

The terms and conditions of the new scheme and the investment list for grant-aided items are currently being finalised.

However, the Farming Independent understands the new scheme will see a greater focus on automation and labour saving on farms.

It is anticipated that digital tillage applications, EID tag readers, computer information systems, heat detection systems, ear tags and pedometers are set to be eligible for grant aid.

The modernisation of animal housing facilities – or the construction of new animal housing facilities on farm – will again be grant aided.

Investments that benefit the environment are also set to receive support such as nutrient storage facilities and precision farming equipment, for example low disturbance tillage equipment.

It provides further support for precision grass measurement equipment, rainwater harvesting and storage, solar panels, heat recovery units, heat pumps, biomass boilers, ventilation and insulation, which decrease energy pressure on farms and improve water quality on farms.

Investments in dairy equipment in the new TAMS scheme are set to be capped, the Farming Independent understands.

Concerns had been raised that robotic milkers would not be grant-aided under the scheme. However, it is now understood that robotic milkers will be grant-aided, but support will be limited to just one robot.

Meanwhile, milking parlour sizes are set to be capped at 10 units in a bid to support what a Department source described as more ‘family-sized’ dairy units.

It is understood many of the new restrictions come as a result of pressure from the European Commission to ensure TAMS 3 investments would not aid an expansion in livestock numbers on Irish farms.

ICMSA Deputy President, Denis Drennan, said that there was still a degree of uncertainty about the final version of TAMS 3, but if the well-placed reports were confirmed then the dairy equipment component would be “hopelessly inadequate”.

Drennan said that in the event of this proving to be the case, it was simply yet more confirmation that Government policy was now designed to go past merely ‘freezing’ present milk production and was moving to actually reducing production volumes over the next five years.

He said he was not sure whether the full economic fall-out from such a policy was grasped by the wider community. But it was on the question of health and safety and physical and mental health and wellbeing that Drennan said the case for at least a parity for dairying in TAMS funding was most pressing and obvious.

“Even if we disregard the question of modernising dairy farms and enhancing their sustainability – and ICMSA does not think we should be doing that – we are still left with the areas of farmer wellbeing and health and safety. Surely, we can all agree that the physical safety and mental health of all farmers should be a primary objective of TAMS policy and funding?

“There are so many areas and equipment that would make a huge positive difference to so many farmers and we’d like that prioritised under the new TAMS and available to all farmers – and very specifically the dairy farmers who have been so discriminated against under the other CAP headings,” said Drennan.

The new farm-building scheme will launch after a year of rampant inflation in construction cost. Farm building suppliers have estimated that the cost of building an average farm shed has risen by 50pc since 2020.

According to the CSO, over the past two years, the price of readymix concrete has increased by 25pc while the price of precast concrete has increased by 35pc.

The cost hikes have forced the Department of Agriculture to hike the reference costs for certain investments twice in the past 12 months.

However, its now understood a further review of the reference cost is now underway as inflation continues to hammer the economy and particularly in light of the planned introduction of the concrete levy.

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