The TAMS Farm Safety scheme closes in less than eight weeks and farmers are being urged to apply now, says Sinead Devaney, Teagasc Advisor.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has urged farmers to avail of the grants available under the new Farm Safety Scheme and to submit applications for aid without delay. “It might be the best investment ever carried out on the farm”, the Minister said.

The Scheme opened on October 22 and will close on January 9, 2015. To date just over 1,000 applications have been received and has a maximum fund of just over €12m.

In order to speed-up grant approvals, two tranches will operate with the budget divided evenly between both tranches. The cut-off date for the first tranche will be Friday, November 28 with the second tranche opening on Monday, December 1, 2014. All work must be completed and a payment claim lodged with the Department by Monday, August 31, 2015.

The grant rate will be 40% of the maximum eligible investment ceiling of €20,000 – in other words, a maximum grant of €8,000 is available.

Farmers should be aware that only applications where the total cost of the works proposed comes to at least €2,000 can be considered for assistance under the new Scheme, Sinead says.

Eligible investments include:
A. Fixed Equipment
1. Safety rails on silo walls
2. Safety fencing for external slurry and effluent stores (including gate)
3. Solid cover for external slurry and effluent stores
4. Safety covers on external agitation points or manholes
5. Replacement of damaged slats (single/twin/gang) or replacement of existing internal agitation point with new gang slats
6. Replacement of a hinged door/sheeted gate with a new sliding door/roller door on agricultural buildings
7. Removal of end wall of tank and provision of external agitation point
8. Wiring/Rewiring of existing farm buildings
9. Yard Lights (min 200W equivalent, either metal halide or LED)
10. Retrofitting roof clear-sheet (roof light) with safety cages.
11. Circulation pipe (6″) to allow for agitation of slurry
12. Installation of calving gates
13. Simple aeration systems

B. Mobile Equipment
1. Mobile cattle handling equipment:
 Mobile cattle crush unit (min 2.4m long)
 Mobile cattle penning max of 75 linear meters (in combination with a Cattle handling unit)
 Mobile cattle weighing scales
 Leg hoist/lifter Head Scoop
2. Mobile Sheep Handling Equipment:
 Mobile specialised Sheep spraying equipment on trailer
 Mobile specialised Sheep spraying equipment without trailer
 Portable Sheep handling race with wheels (including footbath)
 Portable basic Sheep Handling Race
 Mobile Sheep Weighing Facilities
 Mobile Sheep Rollover Crates
 Mobile Sheep “Batch” Footbaths
 Mobile Sheep penning max 75 linear metres (in combination with a Sheep Handling Race)
 Mobile Sheep Adoption Unit Front
 Mobile Sheep Adoption Unit Front with penning

The scheme is open to farmers who have a minimum of 5ha declared under Single Farm Payment Scheme in 2014.