Young farmers ‘invest more than €186 million in their farms’

Young farmers have invested more than €186 million in their farms in real terms over the past five years, based on figures relating to the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), according to Macra na Feirme.

In figures provided to the young farmers’ organisation by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, more than €112 million in grant aid was provided under the TAMS II Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, the majority of these provided at 60% grant aid.

This demonstrates the level of investment by young farmers on their farms since 2015, the association says.

Commenting, Macra president Thomas Duffy said: “In real terms this means young farmers have spent more than €186 million in their local economies, that shows the level of benefit from supporting young farmers to Ireland as a whole.”

Department figures show 1,333 partnerships containing at least one young farmer were funded with 1,652 individual young farmers funded with a total of 4,311 TAMS applications, Macra says.

The largest allocation of funding was provided to animal housing, followed by milking machines and mass concrete tanks. The fourth largest allocation was provided for low emissions slurry spreaders.

Macra’s Agricultural Affairs Committee chair Shane Fitzgerald added: “Young farmers are making significant investments to improve their environmental impact and they should be recognised not villainised for their investments.”

The rural youth organisation noted that other investments include minimum tillage equipment, sheep fencing and precision equipment including GPS and cattle weighting.

Turning to this year’s applications under TAMS, Duffy said:

The numbers in 2020 applying to the Young Farmers’ Scheme have fallen and so there is going to be a reduction in spend to support generational renewal by the state.

“We need a TAMS Young Farmers’ Scheme over the transitionary period which will allow all those under 40 to apply and abolish the outdated five-year rule applied by the Department of Agriculture,” the president concluded.