Farmers advised to price around for new TAMS

Minister Simon Coveney
Minister Simon Coveney

FARMERS applying for the new TAMS II schemes announced last week by Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, have been advised to price around when it comes to getting materials, and hiring contractors for the job.

Galway IFA Livestock Committee Chairman, Michael Flynn, told the Farming Tribune that many farmers had been ‘burnt’ when the old scheme ended in 2008, with top prices having to be paid to contractors and suppliers as the deadline for grant payments approached.

“The latest announcement from Minister Coveney opens up the scheme to all farmers and that is to be warmly welcomed. But I would strongly advise all applicants to rigorously price around for the best value from contractors and suppliers,” said Michael Flynn.

Pat Murphy, Galway IFA Chairman, said that while the new scheme would operate on a tranche application basis, the fact that it would be opened from now until 2020, afforded farmers the chance to plan properly for any work they intended to carry out.

“This is not only good news for farmers but also for the rural economy in general. All this money will circulate back into the local economy and will be a considerable boost for farmers and the construction industry,” said Pat Murphy.

Last week, Minister Coveney announced that an ‘indicative allocation’ of some €175m was being made available under the terms of these two schemes over the full RDP (rural development programme) period.

The schemes, said the Minister, were open to all farmers who meet the general eligibility criteria, offering a standard rate of aid of 40% on investments up to a ceiling of €80,000 [total grant aid of €32,000].

He said that under Animal Welfare, Safety and Storage Scheme, some of the most important areas of investment now available included animal housing, calving pens, manure pits, mass concrete tanks, circular slurry stores and circulation pipes to allow for agitation of slurry, as well as a range of safety elements.

“Following on from the success of the Farm Safety Scheme which saw applications from over 6,000 farmers, I am particularly pleased to be able to re-launch the safety component of this new scheme,” he said.

Agricultural Consultant Vincent Costello, said that the latest grant announcement was very good news for farmers thinking of expansion and especially those who would be in a tight situation as regards slurry storage facilities.

“We are advising farmers to assess their individual situations, to talk to their planners and then come up with a plan for what they want to do. A 40% grant allocation can ‘take the sting’ out of the cost of those jobs,” said Vincent Costello.

All applications must be made on-line (available now), either by the farmer or by an authorised adviser. The first tranche of applications will run for three months, closing towards the end of October.