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Increased TAMS funding needed to cope with surge in applications

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Denis Drennan

Denis Drennan

Denis Drennan

A significant lift in TAMS funding for the latest tranche of the farm investment scheme will be required to prevent a backlog of applications and serious delays to on-farm investment.

The ICMSA claimed there was a substantial increase in the level of applications for TAMS funding in the most recent tranche which closed on June 5.

This was due to the application period being extended from three to five months as a result of the disruption caused by Covid-19.

ICMSA's Denis Drennan said an appropriate expansion in funding for the June 5 tranche is required to meet the increased level of farmer demand and to prevent delays in development works at farm level.

"The point is that this tranche will need funding proportionate to the extended period and this looks like being one of the first decisions that will have to be made by Agriculture Minister, Dara Calleary," said Mr Drennan.

"We expect an application of common sense that will see more money being allocated to this tranche and, in the context of Covid, it would provide a welcome boost to economic activity in rural areas," the ICMSA representative added.

"Many farmers are ready to proceed with their investment and it is essential that an early decision is made on this matter and approvals issued before the end of July," he maintained.

Over the last five years the TAMS programme has provided grant aid for on-farm investment which is valued at close to €480 million.

Total grant payments under TAMS have topped €204 million, with the Department of Agriculture confirming that more than 15,000 payment claims have been submitted.

The purchase and installation of milking machines and other dairy-related works accounted for around 40pc of the overall spend, or almost €190 million, according to figures released recently by the Department.

A further €107 million or more than 20pc of the total spend went on farm buildings, while 12pc or close to €60m was invested in slurry spreading equipment.

Investments associated primarily with the tillage sector - which included the purchase of sprayers, fertiliser spreaders and pesticide reduction - totalled €30 million. Meanwhile, €8.5 million was spent on sheep fencing.

Indo Farming