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Friday 27 April 2018

5 schemes every farmer should get to know this year

Claire Fox

While the growing number of agricultural schemes can often be daunting to get your head around, we've compiled a breakdown of five key schemes farmers should get to know for 2018.

TAMS II

TAMS II opened last March and is taking applications until 31 December 2020.

Grant aid will only be paid on approved, completed and eligible expenditure and shall be paid at the rate of 40pc up to the applicable maximum investment ceiling of €80,000 per holding.

Multiple applications per tranche are permissible, however the minimum amount of investment which is eligible for approval under this Scheme is €2,000 per application.

Under the Terms and Conditions applicants who receive approval and payment for investment works at the maximum ceiling of €80,000 under this Scheme shall not be eligible to apply for grants under any other TAMS II Schemes with the exception of applications under the Low Emission Slurry Spreading Scheme (LESS) which is not subject to the ceiling.

The Scheme is open to farmers who have a minimum of 15 hectares of eligible crops (Annex D) declared under the Basic Payment Scheme or equivalent in the year of application or previous year and farmers with Department identifiers.

Afforestation Scheme

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An Afforestation Grant is available to farmers who want to establish their forest and to maintain it for the first four years. Landowners are also entitled to an annual Afforestation Premium.

Afforestation Grant rates range from €2,165 to €5,750 per hectare. The rate is determined by the quality of the land, the type of trees planted and the chosen Grant and Premium Category (GPC).

Annual Premium payments range from €180/ha to a maximum of €635/ha. These payments are payable for a period ranging from five to 15 years.

Other forestry grants include the Forest Roads Scheme, Woodland Improvements Scheme, Reconstitution Scheme (Chalara), NeighbourWood Scheme and Native Woodland Conservation Scheme.

Protein Aid Scheme

Payments of €3m are being set aside under the Protein Aid Scheme this year. The scheme, which began under the reformed CAP in 2015, is of particular benefit to farmers growing beans, peas and lupins.

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

Payments of €37m have commenced under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) and will be issued to 21,000 farmers who have verified their compliance with the 2017 requirements.

BDGP payments will continue to be issued on an ongoing basis as more farmers verify their compliance with the 2017 scheme requirements. The Minister recently urged participating farmers to return all surveys and genotyping samples and/or complete the carbon navigator update as soon as possible to facilitate payment”.

Brexit Loan Scheme

The Brexit loan scheme is expected to come in to place in March 2018 and will run for two years. It will provide loan terms of up to three years to agri-food businesses with up to 499 employees who are either currently impacted or set to be impacted by Brexit.

Loan interest rates are proposed to be a maximum of 4pc.To be eligible for the loan scheme applicants must be exposed to the current or potential impacts of Brexit and submit a business sustainability plan which demonstrates that they plan to adapt/innovate/change in response to Brexit.

Loans must be for the purpose of supporting working capital or cash flow needs. Loans will then be provided by commercial lenders, subject to normal lending criteria.

2018 GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme

Although the deadline has passed to apply for the 2018 GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme, it is expected that between 50 and 70 projects will benefit from the scheme this year.

Grant amounts vary from between €4,000 to €25,000. A grant award will not be for more than 75pc of the cost of the works with a maximum available grant of €25,000 and only those approved under GLAS are eligible for the scheme.

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