‘TAMS allocation must double to over €60m in up-coming budget’

The TAMS allocation must double to over €60m in the up-coming budget, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

This money will be required to pay 5,000 farmers who will carry out investment on their farms between now and the end of 2017.

This was just one of the suggestions put forward by IFA President, Joe Healy, in a pre-Budget meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

Healy said that the forthcoming Budget must deliver key funding commitments for vital farm schemes in line with the Rural Development Programme (RDP).

Farm schemes are very important, particularly for low-income farmers, he said, and in a year with low prices and persistent difficult weather conditions.

He put forward the five-point plan developed by IFA to help farmers hit by weather losses.

It includes crisis aid for tillage farmers, a fodder scheme for farmers unable to save silage, flexibility on slurry spreading and prompt payments across all schemes.

The potential exists within the RDP to fund 55,000 farmers in GLAS next year, which will involve a significant increase in the allocation for agri-environment schemes.

On the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANCs), Joe Healy pressed the Minister to bring forward to this year the commitment contained in the Programme for Government for an increase of €25m in the funding.

The IFA President also raised the re-opening of the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme to new entrants and an increase in the payment to €200/cow.

On the new Sheep Scheme, the IFA President said that the €25m allocation must be included in the Minister’s Budget announcement on October 11.

Meanwhile, the IFA also raised animal health funding, forestry and other issues handled by other Departments, such as the Fair Deal scheme, Farm Assist, agri-taxation, SAC payments and the Walks Scheme.