‘Provision of additional investment items under TAMS may be considered’

The provision of additional investment items under TAMS may be considered, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice recently questioned Minister Creed about his plans to have a grant system in place – similar to targeted agricultural modernisation schemes (TAMS) – for drinking facilities from rivers via a water pump or drinking bowl system.

These questions arose as a result of a recommendation from the review of Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme (NAP), according to Minister Creed.

As a result of the review, it was recommended that farms – with grassland stocking rates of above 170kg of nitrogen (N) per hectare per year from livestock manure – will be required to fence watercourses 1.5m from the top of the river bank.

“The proposed deadline for the implementation of this recommendation by the affected farmers is January 1, 2021, which will give farmers time to plan for such fencing and provide alternative drinking sources as required.

The provision of additional investment items under TAMS may be considered. This consideration must take into account investments already grant aided and any available budget.

Minister Creed also refused to rule out whether or not he will put in place a grant package for fencing materials, following the announcement that farmers may be required to have lands fenced off at locations in which cattle are drinking at rivers by the beginning of 2021.

He said: “The current proposals are part of the experts review group’s recommendations for amendments to the current nitrates regulations.

“These regulations will not be finalised until the end of the year following a period of public consultation, appropriate assessment and finally negotiation with the European Commission. I will await the outcome of this process before considering next steps.”

Under these recommendations by the review group, it was proposed that farmers would have to modify farm roadways – in order to prevent direct runoff into waterways.

Close to 60% of TAMS budget for 2017 remains unused

It has been revealed that approximately 60% of the budget allocated for TAMS has so far remained unused.

Earlier this month, Minister Creed revealed that expenditure under TAMS had reached €18.3 million in a written response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue.

The funding in this year’s estimate for TAMS equated to €50 million, Minister Creed added. He also underlined the fact that his department has been making payments at a rate over €1 million per week on average since the beginning of August.