Investment ceilings proposed for 2021 TAMS applications

A new investment ceiling should be applied to the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) applications from January 1, 2021, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

This, the organisation says, would allow farmers to “further develop the sustainability of their farms”.

Commenting on the matter, chairperson of the ICMSA Farm and Rural Affairs Committee Denis Drennan said that the current ceilings have been in place since 2014.

The period since then “has seen unprecedented investment by farmers as the sector incorporates the abolition of milk quotas and the greater focus on environmental issues”, the chairman said.

Drennan added that the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) programming period comes to an end on December 31, 2020, and the decision of Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to continue with TAMS for 2021 is a welcome development.

However, the chairman warned that a “looming problem” is the precedent that has a new investment ceiling announced at the start of each CAP programming period.

“The reality for many farmers is that they have reached the maximum investment ceiling for grant aid in the 2014-2020 period and many still have investment requirements on their farms.

The delay in finalising CAP – where we’re now looking at 2023 as being the official new CAP commencement year – will mean a really damaging break in the momentum that TAMS had built up.

“It’s certainly not the fault of the farmers that it’s going to take an extra two years to get the next CAP programme agreed and it’s desperately unfair that badly needed grant aid could be unavailable till then,” he said.

The ICMSA is proposing that TAMS applications after January 1, 2021, should have a new investment ceiling applied and that grants aid received between 2014 and 2020 should have no impact on an individual farmer’s eligibility for grant aid.

“If implemented, such a proposal would ensure that farmers can continue to invest in environmental investments on their farms and would also provide a badly needed boost into the wider rural economy,” Drennan concluded.