Schemes cull fuels fears of more cuts
Axing of TAMS fuels concerns that stamp duty relief is next
Concern is growing that farm stamp duty concessions could be next in the firing line after €90m of cuts have been imposed on various farm schemes over the past number of weeks.
Furious farmers have accused Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney of paying lip service to agriculture while at the same time slashing essential schemes on the ground.
The shock suspension of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) and major cuts to the Agri Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) have provoked deep anger in the agriculture sector.
However, farmers could find their future expansion plans further limited if the stamp duty exemption for farm consolidation, due to expire on June 30, is not renewed. The exemption was conspicuous by its absence from the Budget and the Finance Bill and, with just two weeks to go to its expiry, there has been no indication that it will be renewed.
Figures released by the Department of Agriculture on Friday show that just €24.71m of the €90m available for TAMS was applied for before its shock suspension on Wednesday.
Hundreds of farmers, many of whom were waiting for planning permission to meet scheme requirements, were caught unawares by the shock suspension.
Up to 5pm last Wednesday, 18 pig farmers had applied to the Sow Welfare Scheme for €2.04m in funding, while 35 poultry farmers applied for €11.15m in funding.
By the same date, 909 sheep farmers had applied for €2.23m in sheep fencing/handling grants, 813 dairy farmers had applied for €9.26m to the dairy equipment scheme, while just eight farmers had applied for €30,000 rainwater harvesting grants.