The outcome of the review of reference costings for the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) is “urgently needed”, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Speaking over the weekend, IFA rural development chairperson Michael Biggins welcomed the announcement by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue on Friday (June 25) that 100% of applicants had been approved for tranche 21 of the scheme.

However, Biggins noted: “70% of applicants had been approved for the last three tranches and unsuccessful applicants had been carried forward.

“Farmers were faced with uncertainty concerning their investments and plans were delayed.”

He also noted that materials such as steel and concrete have seen steep increases in price – up to 40% in some cases.

“The review of TAMS reference costings must be finalised without delay. It has to include all tranche 21 applications, and those currently in the system where the work or purchase of equipment has not started,” Biggins urged.

“It would be unacceptable not to include all applicants. Excluding them would mean they would get a lower rate of grant relative to investment costs incurred,” the IFA rural development chair concluded.

Approval letters for tranche 21 applications have started issuing, Minister McConalogue said on Friday.

It was the first time that a TAMS tranche saw 100% of its applications approved.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, an average of €1.3 million per week is paid out on TAMS investments, with just over €25 million having been paid so far for completed investments in 2021.

Payments of over €290 million have now issued in respect of over 20,700 approved applications for completed investments since the opening of TAMS II in 2015, the department noted.

“With over 40,000 approvals issued since its launch, there are still a considerable amount of outstanding approvals out there with farmers.”

Minister McConalogue urged those farmers to “conclude the investment work and apply for the payment as soon as possible to facilitate the prompt issuing of payments”.

The current tranche of TAMS closes on July 23. Further tranches in 2021 will open on that day and on November 5, according to the department.