The Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) and the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) will be the areas of discussion when the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine meets this evening (Wednesday, January 26).

The meeting will begin at 5:30p.m in Committee Room 3 of Leinster House.

TDs and senators will hear from representatives from the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI).

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the committee’s chairperson Jackie Cahill commented: “The NAP aims to reduce the environmental impact on surface and groundwater by the farming industry.

“The committee discussed this matter last year and we look forward to engaging [on] the programme,” Cahill added.

On TAMS, the Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary said: “TAMS, including the low-emission slurry spreading [LESS] Equipment Scheme, can be used to update equipment to be more environmentally friendly.”

This was particularly an issue for contractors, Cahill said.

“Contractors who service a lot of farms and agri-businesses are excluded from these schemes. The committee welcomes the opportunity to meet with the FCI to discuss the impact of being excluded from TAMS, the NAP and related matters.”

The meeting in Committee Room 3 can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine has 14 members – nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

These are:

  • TDs:
    • Martin Browne (Sinn Féin);
    • Chairperson Jackie Cahill (Fianna Fáil);
    • Matt Carthy (Sinn Féin);
    • Michael Collins (independent);
    • Michael Fitzmaurice (independent);
    • Joe Flaherty (Fianna Fáil);
    • Paul Kehoe (Fine Gael);
    • Brian Leddin (Green Party);
    • Michael Ring (Fine Gael).
  • Senators:
    • Victor Boyhan (independent);
    • Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin);
    • Paul Daly (Fianna Fáil);
    • Tim Lombard (Fine Gael);
    • Denis O’Donovan (Fianna Fáil).

The FCI’s presence at the committee meeting comes one week after the group outlined its charge guide for 2022, which highlighted the increasing costs for contractors.

This year sees FCI guiding an average minimum 5% increase in charges, rounded off to meet some of the significant increases in costs of machinery, tyres, fuel, lubrication oils, insurance and labour costs.

The increasing costs of new machinery for farm and forestry contractors and their client farmers are impacting on the sustainability of many agricultural contracting businesses, the FCI said.