IFA calls for early approval for TAMS applicants

All Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) applicants, for the latest application period (Tranche 17), should receive early approval. That’s according to the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) National Rural Development chairman Michael Biggins.

Tranche 17 closed on June 5. Over 5,000 applications were submitted (for this tranche).

He says that it is now up to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to issue approval to all of these applicants. Farmers who do not have full planning permission must have it secured by July 10, when the selective process will proceed.

Biggins also pointed out that the next application period (Tranche 18) opened on June 6 and will close on August 7. This is a shorter time-frame than usual (tranches normally open for three months).

No decision on number of tranches

The department reportedly told the IFA that, as of yet, no decision has been taken on the number of tranches that will be available between August and December 31, 2020, when the current phase of the scheme comes to an end.

At the meeting, the IFA claims that it put forward a case for the continuation of the scheme under EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) transitional arrangements for a further year or two, until the details of the next Rural Development Programme (RDP) are available.

€82.5 million is available for the scheme this year with over €30 million already paid out. It was stressed by the IFA that there must be “no delay in grant payments”.

The extra cost of bridging loans is a serious financial burden at a time when farm incomes are under pressure. The IFA has received assurances that pre-payment inspections which involve 5% of applications will not delay payments.

TAMS payment update

Figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine show that, as of June 12, 2020, €220 million had been paid out under TAMS II. In total, 14,733 payments have been issued.

Furthermore, 28,751 approvals have been issued to date, with 15,557 payment applications submitted.