The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), has called for an explanation on why government inflationary measures for public works contracts are not being extended to farm grants.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform announced the Inflation Co-operation Framework last month, a mechanism created to offset inflationary pressures being experienced by those operating under a public works contract by up to 70%.

ICMSA deputy president Denis Drennan said that farmers are experiencing “exactly the same inflation in construction costs”, yet they are not receiving the same help.

“Why is the Irish government so happy to recognise the inflation felt by multi-billion euro civil construction firms and so reluctant to recognise the exact same inflationary pressures on family farms?” Drennan asked.

According to Drennan, farmers are now questioning why the state is unwilling to address the same pressures that are impacting their farm grants, particularly those under the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS).

“It’s a very revealing glimpse into what some elements of the government really think about helping farmers to achieve the levels of modernisation and environmental sustainability that they keep insisting we need to meet.”

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), announced an increase of 5-15% in the reference costs for TAMS last April. Following the announcement, the ICMSA said this was “hopelessly short of what was required” and called for a review of the decision, although this has not yet happened.

Drennan said that farming families and single person farms who have applied for TAMS, are watching the state give major contractors 70% of their additional inflationary costs, while they expect an increase of 5-15%. He stated:

“This looks very much like the government is happy to leave the farmers who applied for TAMS grants unable to proceed because the grants on which they were relying, are now hopelessly adrift of the real prices.”

Concluding, Drennan reiterated the skyrocketing costs that farmers are now facing on a daily basis, and once again called for the reference costs for TAMS to be “increased immediately to reflect the actual costs being faced by farmers today”.