The Chairperson of the ICMSA’s Farm and Rural Affairs Committee, Patrick Rohan, has stated that ongoing delays with regard to approvals under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) - particularly the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme - is causing considerable difficulty for many farmers and is absolutely unacceptable at this stage. Mr Rohan pointed out that applications were made for works under the Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme over six months ago and farmers still haven’t been given approvals to start necessary works.
“Many applicants would have planned on having much of this work completed at this stage in advance of the busy silage period and actually many have applied for silage slabs which must be completed at least a month before silage making starts. ICMSA raised these points directly with Department officials at a recent Farmers’ Charter Monitoring Committee meeting and called for approvals to be issued immediately as the window of opportunity is running out for completion of many of these works”, he said.In addition, the Farm and Rural Affairs Chairperson stated that ICMSA also cited the untenable situation whereby farmers that have completed works approved under Tranche 1 of the Dairy Equipment Scheme now find themselves in a very difficult position financially because the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is not currently in a position to process these payments.
“We’ve now arrived at a situation where farmers have incurred the significant costs of such works, have paid suppliers on the basis of grant approval and are now left ‘hanging’ for the money from the Department. It’s not an exaggeration to say that prompt payment has never been more important than it’s going to be in the current year, given the extreme financial stress dairy farmers are experiencing due to what can only be described as a collapse in milk price and dairy farm income. By any measure it is grossly unfair and questionable to leave people ‘in the lurch’ like this”, said Mr Rohan.Mr. Rohan concluded by calling on the Minister to immediately ensure that adequate resources are put in place to process outstanding applications and where approvals have been given and the worked carried out and certified with contractors paid, to issue the grants agreed to the farmers concerned who have been left in an utterly invidious position by the Department.