Over 7,000 applications have so far been submitted under the first three tranches of TAMS II, with near 1,200 applications for the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme. Considering the scheme was launched in 2015, to have less than half of the applications processed and approved by mid August 2016, is catastrophic.
Currently, there is a great deal of confusion around the status of farmer’s TAMS II applications. Irish farmers are anxious to commence the construction of various on farm projects due to this being an ideal time of year to begin building.
Macra Ag Affairs committee chairperson, James Barber raised the issue of delayed TAMS II approvals adding to construction costs come winter. He said “Delays in the buildings of on farm projects, into the winter period will increase the cost of construction. Come winter, construction becomes a lot harder due to inclement weather conditions. Poor weather and poor ground conditions will result in farmers needing to construct roadways to allow heavy machinery pass on land with minimal damage. Added costs such as roadways aren’t covered by the TAMS grant”.
Of critical importance is the need for immediate TAMSII approval so farmers, who have already committed to the herd expansion process, are capable of starting construction and complying with nitrates regulations come next year.
The current TAMS II situation is not only causing frustration amongst farmers, but also increasing the level of stress they are experiencing. The already high level of stress felt among Ireland’s farming community caused by low farm gate prices, needs anything but an increase in stress from TAMS II delays.
The current TAMS II scenario is unacceptable and today, Macra National President Sean Finan is calling on the Minister of Agriculture to dedicate additional resources for the processing of applications for TAMS II, to accelerate the overall process and allow farmers know the faith of their applications. For future schemes, Macra would also ask the Minister to ensure the correct resources are in place when rolling out future schemes so to prevent disastrous delays from occurring again.