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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Niall Hurson Twitter

Young dairy farmers face cow quota under TAMS 3

Minister McConalogue said these changes will continue to align TAMS with overall agriculture and environmental priorities.

Young dairy farmers will be face restrictions on the expansion of their herds if they chose to avail of funding under TAMS 3 for a milking machine.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue confirmed this week that, applicants under the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (YFCIS) who have between 121 and 160 cows, there will be a requirement that they may not increase cow numbers for five years following payment of grant-aid on the milking machine.

For those applicants under the YFCIS and also for registered farm partnerships involving a young farmer, the limit on cow numbers for the preceding year is set at 160 dairy cows.

The clarification came in response to a parliamentary question from Clare TD Cathal Crowe, where the Minister confirmed that the limit relates only to the milking machine investments and does not apply to any other investments.

For applications under the Dairy Equipment Capital Investment Scheme, Women Farmers Capital Investment Scheme and Organic Capital Investment Scheme, applicants may apply for up to 10 milking units in a herringbone parlour, or one robotic milking machine, if they have less than 120 cows on average over the year preceding the making of an application.

Minister McConalogue said these changes will continue to align TAMS with overall agriculture and environmental priorities.

“Furthermore, in our view this helps to ensure that TAMS 3 is better aligned with government priorities of delivering environmental public good outputs and is consistent with other policies that are trying to improve the sustainability of our dairy herd such as changes in Nitrates regulations,” he said.

“Put in context of the overall investment list available to dairy farmers; it is important to acknowledge that a milking machine is only one item from a list extending more than 300 items.”

Despite the pushback on limits applied to milking machines, the Minister maintains that “we have delivered a hugely exciting scheme that will deliver for farmers, for the entire agri-food sector and the wider rural economy over the next number of years.

“I have assigned €370m for TAMS between 2023 and 2027 with a strong focus on supporting this as well as subsequent generations of farmers.”

The Minister also highlighted pressure from the European Commission to make these changes; “They sought that all investments must be focused on green investments, which are environmental, animal welfare and biodiversity related investments,” he said.

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