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Sunday 22 July 2018

Top tips on maximising farm grant payments

There are different grant rates and limits available depending on a farmer's age and other factors, writes our expert

The level of aid can be further enhanced where a Young Farmer is part of such a collaborative arrangement.. Stock photo
The level of aid can be further enhanced where a Young Farmer is part of such a collaborative arrangement.. Stock photo
Different rates of grants apply to farm partnerships depending on the nature of the collaboration

Martin O'Sullivan

The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) have proven to be a very valuable incentive towards farm development since their introduction under the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme.

With the expected increase in health and safety inspections on farms, an increased emphasis on improving Ireland's water quality and aims to reduce ammonia emissions from agriculture, the TAMS scheme will play a central role in achieving the relevant targets.

The advent of these schemes allied to the introduction of registered partnerships and the growth in limited companies as a trading entity for farmers has created a number of opportunities for farmers to maximise the level of grant aid available through collaborative farming arrangements. The level of aid can be further enhanced where a Young Farmer is part of such a collaborative arrangement.

GRANT RATES

The maximum grant entitlement will depend on two factors in the first instance, namely, the rate of grant and the investment limit. The rate of grant will be either 40pc or 60pc depending on whether the applicant is a 'Young Farmer' by definition. A 'Young Farmer' means a person who is not more than 40 years of age at the time of submitting the application, possesses adequate occupational skills and competence and is setting up for the first time in an agricultural holding as head of that holding. Such a person may be entitled to a 60pc rate of grant while persons other than young farmers may be entitled to a 40pc rate.

Registered partnerships where one partner is a Young Farmer will attract a grant rate of 60pc on the first €80,000 and 40pc on the remainder. In the case of collaborative structures involving Young Farmers, the rate of grant and the investment limit can vary depending on the nature of the structure and these are set out in Table 1.

INVESTMENT LIMITS

The investment limit per holding is typically €80,000 for an individual or €160,000 for a registered partnership with two or more eligible partners, with the exception of the Low Emissions Slurry Spreading Scheme as detailed below. There are various collaborative arrangements that may or may not attract the maximum investment limit. These are detailed in Table 2.

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LOW EMISSIONS SLURRY SPREADING SCHEME

The maximum amount of investment eligible for grant-aid under the Low Emissions Slurry Spreading Scheme is €40,000 per holding. However, in the case of a joint application by two or more eligible partners under a registered partnership, the maximum eligible investment ceiling is increased to €60,000.

The investment ceiling under this scheme is not subject to the overall TAMS II investment ceiling of €80,000/€160,000 per holding. In order to qualify for grant aid at 60pc, applications in respect of the Low Emissions Slurry Spreading Scheme investments from qualifying Young Farmers must be submitted under the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme.

FARMERS MAY NEED TO ACT NOW

Farmers need to be aware that the application process can be slow. For example, if your proposed development requires planning permission, as most do, you need to allow for a 12-month turnaround period before a building is ready for use.

Planning can take four moths or more and TAMS approval can take a further five months all going well and this is before a sod is turned. As we are now in early May the chances of having a functioning structure in place for the coming winter is minimal. In the case of mobile equipment, the turnaround period for approval will be considerably less due to the fact you do not require planning permission. The current window for applications closes on June 8 and the following window will run until September 7.

Martin O'Sullivan is the author of the ACA Farmers Handbook. He is a partner in O'Sullivan Malone and Company, accountants and registered auditors; som.ie


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