'Frontloading' plea on DES
Frontloading the Dairy Equipment Scheme (DES) could generate business worth €50m for the rural economy, ICMSA deputy president Pat McCormack has claimed.
Mr McCormack said the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, should consider such a move, given the level of farmer interest in the scheme.
The latest tranche of the DES looks set to be substantially over-subscribed and will result in farmers being graded for entry into the scheme.
Department officials have confirmed that more than 800 farmer applications were registered before the January 31 deadline, with more applications still in the registration pipeline. This latest tranche, which opened for applications on December 20, has an allocation of €4.425m. A second and third tranche will follow later this year, with more scheduled for 2013.
However, Mr McCormack said the tranche system should not be allowed to unnecessarily delay or deny farmer access to the scheme.
"Farmers evidently want to invest in their dairy facilities and we're calling on the minister to facilitate them by frontloading the available funding in a manner that will enable the work to begin," said Mr McCormack.
He added that the grant aid not only benefited the dairy farmers but also the wider rural economy.