Grant schemes for on farm investment have long been part of the Irish farming scene. In 2015, after a lot of thought, planning and negotiation, we had the introduction of a new five year investment programme termed TAMS II – Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme II.
The sums surrounding TAMS II look attractive. Overall a budget of €395 Million is penned in for the six years and €175 Million of this is allocated to the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme eg farm buildings.
Individual applications can attract 60% grant aid on investments of up to €80,000 for qualifying young farmers and 40% grant for up to €80k investment by farmers with no age restriction. That amounts to potential grant payments of €48k or €32k, depending on the category of the applicant, for carrying out desirable farm improvements.
However the TAMS II scheme has some fundamental differences to anything that has gone before it.
- All applications have to be made on-line.
- Applications will be made in tranches of three months with the final closing date of end of December 2020. Farmers can make multiple applications provided they come in under the overall grant ceiling.
- At the end of each application period the Department marking list will assess and rank the merits of the applications in the three months before issuing approvals.
TAMS II may be experiencing some teething delays but very much up and running. The first tranche for the qualifying Young Farmer Scheme, which closed during September, attracted some 6,300 applications. In mid October none of these applicants have been issued with approval notices. So as yet no actual concrete has been poured under the TAMS II scheme.
October 30 2015 is the closing date nominated for the widely available 40% grant Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme. The same closing date has been nominated for the Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme which also includes a 40% grant up to a ceiling of an €80 k investment.
Meanwhile the application for the second tranche of the Young Farm Scheme grants is again underway. Probably in the near future the Department of Agriculture will adjust the tranche application periods for the various TAMS II schemes so that they all run concurrently.
To date Ireland’s tillage farmers have been excluded from the TAMS II grants but it is expected that Farm Minister Coveney will shortly announce grant aid towards grain storage. Farm organisations are also pressing for sheep fencing and road underpasses to be included in TAMS II schemes. The absence of road underpasses is seen as a deterrent to dairy expansion on many farms, and the official policy is geared towards growth in dairy output.
There is a minimum of €2000 in grant payment which means a minimum project outlay of €5,000 where the 40% grant applies.
Every TAMS II application which includes buildings must be accompanied by planning permission or exemption for the unit, Applications must be compliant with adequate slurry and waste water storage on livestock farms.
Materials and building must the up to specification .
Generally the specs are there for a good reason. This is an opportunity for us farmers not to repeat the mistakes of the past. In particular I look at the foolish shortcuts I made in laying concrete 40 years ago. Where the correct foundations, strength of concrete, depth and concrete curing was done, the job is still 100%. Where shortcuts were taken, I will have to invest again.
Author John Shirley
Roadstone Farmcrete - Concrete for the farm