Ireland has received approval to provide grant aid for sheep fencing and tillage sector investments under the new TAMS II schemes.

Speaking in the Dail today the Minister said he was delighted to announce that he has received informal approval from the Commission for the inclusion of a specific scheme of investment for Tillage Farmers and also for the inclusion of sheep fencing as an investment item under the existing TAMS Schemes.

There was significant disappointment when the Department of Agriculture confirmed that these new elements would not be available in the current tranche of TAMS II. It is now likely that both sheep fencing and the new tillage specific scheme will be available in the next tranche set to open in later in the summer.

Grant aid for these investments are likely to be similar to those in other TAMS schemes. Eligible young farmers will likely be able to avail of 60% grant aid while 40% grants will be generally available to other farmers.

However, the terms and conditions for these schemes are unlikely to be revealed until later in the year and the Department of Agriculture as yet has not received formal approval from the European Commission.

Grant approval delays

Meanwhile, the Department continues to be criticised over delays in issuing approvals to farmers under the TAMS II scheme.

The Chairperson of the ICMSA’s Farm and Rural Affairs Committee, Patrick Rohan, has stated that ongoing delays with regard to approvals under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) – particularly the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme – is causing considerable difficulty for many farmers and is absolutely unacceptable at this stage.

Rohan pointed out that applications were made for works under the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme over six months ago and farmers still haven’t been given approvals to start necessary works.

“Many applicants would have planned on having much of this work completed at this stage in advance of the busy silage period and actually many have applied for silage slabs which must be completed at least a month before silage making starts.

“ICMSA raised these points directly with Department officials at a recent Farmers’ Charter Monitoring Committee meeting and called for approvals to be issued immediately as the window of opportunity is running out for completion of many of these works,” he said.