The continuation of measures from the Calf Investment Scheme under the new programme of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) for 2021 has been described as “welcome news” for farmers.

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard said that farmers would “welcome clarity that the scheme will continue” in this form, following a previous announcement last year that the scheme would not continue due to a lack of funding for it.

“2,500 farmers applied for the scheme last year. It probably would have been more if there was more time to apply,” Lombard said.

I was somewhat surprised to hear there would be no scheme in place for 2021 in November, as I think most of the farming community was.

“I raised the issue repeatedly with the agriculture minister [Charlie McConalogue] over the last number of weeks and I am delighted that this valuable investment will now continue under a new guise,” the agricultural panel senator said.

“The Calf Investment Scheme was extremely successful because it delivered practical measures and was very farmer-friendly,” he commented.

Minister McConalogue confirmed yesterday (Wednesday, January 13) the continuation of TAMS with Tranche 21 of the scheme, which will open this Saturday, January 16 and close on April 16, 2021.

The minister said: “I have been very clear that continuity is very important and this is part of that commitment. TAMS has been hugely successful to date with over €265 million in grant aid paid out and I would encourage all existing applicants with approvals to submit their payment claims as soon as they are complete.”

Among the key changes to TAMS for 2021 are:

  • The addition of investments for calf welfare – this means the investments previously available under the Calf Investment Scheme will be included under TAMS now;
  • GPS spreaders to be now available for all categories of applicants. Previously these were only available to tillage applicants under the scheme;
  • In line with the rules for derogation farmers introduced last year, this cohort of farmers are no longer eligible to apply for support for low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment.