Apply now for the rainwater scheme's €8m
Some €8m in grant aid is now available to farmers under the Rainwater Harvesting Scheme, which opens for applications from today.
Grant aid of 40pc for certain rainwater harvesting equipment is being paid out, up to a maximum of €25,000 investment per farm. Scheduled to remain open until December 31, 2013, the scheme will have a maximum grant aid of €10,000 per farm and a minimum investment amount of €2,000.
The scheme is aimed at reducing water costs on Irish farms and is one of a series of targeted agricultural schemes that will be co-funded by Europe.
Application forms for the Rainwater Harvesting Scheme are available for download from the Department of Agriculture website, www.agriculture.gov.ie.
Similar to the Dairy Equipment Scheme, the Rainwater Harvesting Scheme includes a grading system which will apply to all applications. In this selection process, top priority will be given to farmers who are heavy users of water.
To identify the heaviest users of water, Department of Agriculture officials will grade farms based on a points system.
Dairy farmers will be assessed on the basis of each production unit (1,800l of milk quota) accounting for 1.5 marks.
Pig, poultry and horticulture production units will score one mark each, while livestock production units will score 0.75 marks.
When the marks from each farm's production units are added, the farms with the highest marks or highest water use will be given priority access to the scheme.
Keen quotes could be a factor in securing approval in the scheme, as the Department has said it will examine the proposed cost of each project.
Farmers who submit proposed costs that are lower than the Department's own reference or standard costs will be given priority.
Other factors in the selection process will include priority for farmers who want to install a rainwater harvesting tank and/or a water treatment unit.
Young trained farmers and farmers in Less Favoured Areas will also be given priority in the selection system.
If all those criteria prove to be too confusing, copies of the marking system will be available on request from the On-Farm Investment Schemes Division, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford and on the Department's website under the heading 'Farm Buildings'.
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