Taking the worry out of grant aid
Designed around a four-times-a-year tranche system, TAMS offers sheep farmers a chance to manage modernisation plans and handling units
The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) Sheep Fencing/Mobile Handling Equipment Scheme is a different type of grant scheme to the ones that farmers have become accustomed to over the past two decades.
Under previous schemes, entry was on a first come, first served basis and when the money ran out the scheme was closed. TAMS works on a tranche system, where the money allocated to the scheme is divided into equal instalments. Each tranche runs for three months and is then immediately followed by another three-month slice. The scheme is due to close on December 31, 2013.
Eligibility/qualifying for grant aid
Qualification for grant aid under TAMS is based on a points system. The more points the applicant has, the better his or her chances are of getting grant aid. Points are awarded under six categories (See table 1). The maximum number of points that an applicant can achieve is 425.
The qualification criteria are structured so that dedicated sheep farmers that keep breeding ewes are favoured over mixed farms that have cattle, dairy, tillage or other enterprises. Extremely large farms (over 200 production units) are not eligible for grant aid and very small flocks (less than 5ha/50 ewes or less than 10 production units) also do not qualify for grant aid.
Investments that qualify for grant aid
Under TAMS, farmers whose holdings (production units etc) qualify under the scheme can get grant aid on fencing as per table 2 and for mobile sheep handling facilities (table 3). Mobile sheep-handling facilities are defined as units that are transported using a trailer, attachable wheels or on a three-point linkage. They may not be concreted, bolted or permanently fixed in place.
In order to qualify for grant aid, the suppliers of mobile sheep-handling facilities must have sought approval for the products they are marketing. This means that you cannot purchase a handling unit from your local welder/fabricator if he is not on the Department of Agriculture's approved list.