Macra na Feirme is calling for an increase to the maximum rate of aid for young farmers through the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), due to the record-high costs of farm inputs.

The young farmers’ association said this evening (Tuesday, June 28) that the cost of inputs across the entire economy is affecting farm development projects.

Macra argues that this is particularly the case on farms run by young farmers:

“With the costs of many inputs such as steel and concrete, along with technology more than doubling in price, young farmers are finding it difficult to develop infrastructure on their farms.”

President of Macra, John Keane said: “It is also the case that many farms are postponing developments because of rising costs which many have more severe management implications next winter.”

According to Keane, the solution to the issue is a “significant” increase to the TAMS ceiling for young farmers.

“This will allow further support to a cohort of farmers who are particularly vulnerable to the current input cost crisis”, Keane added.

At present, grant aid can be paid to young farmers (who are aged between 18 and 41 at the date of submitting an application) up to 60% of the cost of an investment, subject to a maximum of €80,000/holding.

Applicants who receive approval to proceed with investment work through this grant aid cannot apply for any other TAMS aid, except for low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment.

Keane also called for the review of reference costs for developments under TAMS to continue, but at “an accelerated rate”.

According to the Macra president, many building contractors and suppliers are only leaving quotes valid for 24 hours, as costs are increasing on a very short-term basis.

“Immediate work on increasing the TAMS young farmer threshold is required by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,” Keane argued.