The approval process for the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) is “too slow and must be sped up as farm investment is held up”, was the statement from the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Rural Development chairman Michael Biggins.

“Tranche 17 closed as far back as June 6 last, with around 5,000 applicants. However, there are a significant number of farmers who have yet to get approval.

It has stalled farm investment plans which need to be done.

Biggins also pointed out that with the economy trying to come out of the economic downturn as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, it’s vitally important that the approvals process is overhauled.

“In relation to Tranche 18 which closes on August 21, the IFA is urging the Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary to ensure that delays in previous tranches are addressed.”

Biggins stressed the importance of an early signal from the minister of an extension of TAMS beyond December 31 next.

Under EU Common Agricultural Policy [CAP] transitional rules, the IFA estimates there will be €135 million of unspent funds.

“While applicants who apply and are approved will have a call on this funding, it’s important that there is a significant allocation to TAMS in next October’s budget to allow new applicants into the scheme next year.

“The IFA is seeking an allocation of €120 million for the scheme for 2021,” Biggins concluded.

Farmers should not lose out due to ‘planning debacle’

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice also raised his concerns about the delays for TAMS applicants being approved for the scheme.

According to Fitzmaurice, farmers should not lose out on the TAMS funding due to the “planning debacle”.

Also Read: TAMS ‘planning debacle’ may lead to ‘significant animal welfare issues’ – Fitzmaurice

The Roscommon-Galway TD said he has been contacted by a number of farmers who may lose out on funding under the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage (AWSNS) scheme due to delays in securing “full and final planning permission for new livestock housing facilities”.

“One would have to wonder if there is a desire to block as many farmers as possible from the TAMS funding,” deputy Fitzmaurice said.

“Farmers should not lose out on TAMS funding due to delays in the planning procedure caused by emergency legislation brought in by public representatives.”