Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Dara Calleary is being called on to ensure that the level of funding allocated to the most recent tranche of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) is in line with the extension.

The last tranche was run for five months, which was an extension of two months on the typical length of a TAMS tranche. This extension was put in place due to the disruption caused by Covid-19.

As a result, there was a significant increase in the number of applications for that tranche, which closed on June 5.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has said that an “appropriate increase” in the funding is required to take account of the two-month extension.

“The point is that this tranche will need funding proportionate to the extended period and this looks like being one of the first decisions that will have to be made by Minister Calleary,” said Denis Drennan, chairperson of the ICMSA’s Farm Services and Rural Affairs Committee.

“We expect an application of common sense that will see more money being allocated to this tranche and, in the context of Covid-19, it would provide a welcome boost to economic activity in rural areas,” he added.

Drennan concluded: “Many farmers are ready to proceed with their investment and it is essential that an early decision is made on this matter and approvals issued before the end of July.”

EID for cattle

In other ICMSA relates news, the association said earlier today, Friday, July 17, that farmers alone cannot bear the cost of any initiative for electronic identification (EID) of cattle.

The statement came after it was confirmed that the department is looking into the possibility of implementing EID tagging for cattle.

Lorcan McCabe, the deputy president of ICMSA, argued that, since the benefits of EID tagging extend “well beyond the farmgate” – including to livestock marts, meat processors and the department itself – the cost cannot be placed exclusively on farmers.