5 schemes every farmer needs to know about in 2017
The Department of Agriculture is set to roll out a number of key schemes for farmers in 2017.
A number of schemes are planned to open for farmers in various enterprises, including beef, sheep and tillage to name a few.
1. Low-cost loan scheme
The Department of Agriculture’s low-cost loan scheme is expected to open for applications in early 2017.
The scheme, which was announced in Budget 2017, aims to help farmers with the current cashflow difficulties they are facing.
Under the scheme, called the Agri Cashflow Support Loan Scheme, a total of €150m will be available to farmers at low-cost interest rates of 2.95%.
The loans are primarily to pay down expensive forms of credit such as merchant credit and other short-term financing facilities.Also Read: Everything you need to know about the low-cost loan scheme
2. TAMS for tillage farmers
Details of a TAMS scheme for tillage farmers are set to be announced in early 2017, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed said recently.
The scheme will likely fall under the overall TAMS II farm building scheme, which operates under a tranche system with approximately three-month tranches opening regularly under each individual sector and will continue to invite applications until 2020.
Under the scheme, farmers will be able to avail of grant aid of 40% with eligible young farmers entitled to grant aid of 60% for investments.
Under TAMS II the minimum approval per application under all schemes is €2,000.
3. Sheep Welfare Scheme
The €25m Sheep Welfare Scheme will be introduced in January as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme having been agreed with the European Commission.
Under the scheme, farmers will be required to choose actions which can improve the overall welfare of a flock.
These actions will be chosen from a menu from which farmers must choose two actions, based on whether the farmer has a lowland flock or hill flock. These actions must be completed over a 12 month period.
In return the farmer will receive a payment of €10 per breeding ewe, depending on the average number of ewes held on their farm in the years 2014 and 2015.Also Read: Details of Sheep Welfare Scheme revealed
4. Genomics Scheme
It looks increasingly likely that the Beef Data and Genomics Programme will reopen for applications.
Earlier this year, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed said his Department has an ambition to see the scheme reopen to other farmers.
There is provision of €300m in the lifetime of the Rural Development Programme for the scheme, he said, and he would prefer to spend the money in a fashion that allows more farmers to take part in the program.
Approximately 24,000 farmers have received payments under the first tranche of the genomics scheme, and given its success in boosting suckler farm incomes in 2016, a decision on reopening the scheme will be welcomed by many.
5. Family Farm Partnership Tax Credit
The Department has also confirmed that the €25,000 Family Farm Partnership tax credit incentive is set to commence in 2017.
It is understood that the structure will allow two people, for example family members, to enter into a partnership with an appropriate profit-sharing agreement.
This agreement makes the provision for the transfer of the farm to the young farmer at the end of a specified period, not exceeding 10 years.
Under the scheme, 80% of the farm must be transferred to the young person by the end of the 10-year period, while the Department had previously confirmed the the ‘favourite niece or nephew’ will be included under this measure.