‘TAMS fund falls short of replacing tillage farmers’ lost income from 2016′

The tillage TAMS II fund falls short of what is needed to replace the lost income tillage farmers suffered last year, Fianna Fail TD Charlie McConalogue said.

McConalogue welcomed the opening of the TAMS II scheme for tillage farmers, but he believes a specific compensation fund for farmers who were affected by last year’s poor harvest conditions is still required.

Farmers are becoming increasingly frustrated that a compensation fund has not been established by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, the Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Agriculture said.

McConalogue has repeatedly called for the crisis fund to be established to support tillage farmers whose crops were destroyed by the heavy rain last summer and autumn.

“I have been raising this issue for over six months now and a Dail motion supporting a crisis fund received the backing of the Dail in January.

Despite this, the Minister continues to stall on the issue.

“The delays in rolling out this TAMS scheme have further exacerbated matters, and while I welcome the fact that the details have finally been announced, the €29m funding falls far short of what is needed to get tillage farmers back on their feet.

“They need additional resources to make up for the massive losses they incurred last year. Minister Creed cannot continue to bury his head in the sand,” he said.

The Department is already running a huge underspend for 2016; it is not unreasonable for him to use €5m of this to compensate hard-pressed farmers, according to McConalogue.

IFA Welcomes Tillage TAMS II Announcement

Meanwhile, the IFA President, Joe Healy, has also welcomed the announcement by Minister Creed of the opening of a dedicated TAMS programme for investment in infrastructure, equipment and technology by tillage farmers.

“The provision of targeted funding for investment by tillage farmers under the TAMS programme will enable growers to maintain competitiveness, while reducing the sector’s carbon and environmental footprint.

“Irish tillage farmers are world-class operators but they work in a very challenging environment competing against world prices.

They have to contend with extreme price and income volatility, in addition to the vagaries of the Irish weather.

“Targeted funding will help maintain competitiveness and facilitate the further expansion of arable crop production,” he said.

A vibrant tillage sector has the potential to contribute significantly to reducing Ireland’s carbon emissions through the supply of biomass crop residues, the IFA National Grain Committee Chairman, Liam Dunne, said.

The sector also provides much needed biodiversity in predominantly grassland areas, he added.

“The commercialisation of existing and new technologies such as torrefaction and hydrothermal carbonisation will allow for the incorporation up to 50% biomass in the manufacture of smokeless fuels, thus addressing carbon emissions from the residential home heat market.

The provision of targeted funding to the tillage sector should give considerable scope for its expansion when markets turn.

“However, this expansion will depend on increased productivity and profitability through reducing input use and crop establishment costs,” Liam Dunne said.