No movement on TAMS or crisis aid at tillage forum
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal on Thursday evening, Irish Farmers Association grain chair Liam Dunne said there was no real movement on the big ticket items at Thursday’s tillage forum.
The much-anticipated TAMS tillage scheme will not open for applications for a number of weeks.
“Creed said there was still a big body of work to do on this scheme,” Dunne said. “I am disappointed that this is still not up and running as I was hoping the opening of the scheme would be announced at today’s forum.”
Dunne added that he discussed the scheme with Creed at the forum and both agreed that the average tillage farmer is currently not in a position to make investments without financial support.
It is believed that the scheme, whenever it is announced, will open under the current tranche which closes for applications on 7 April 2017.
“For this reason it is important that it is announced soon and when it is announced it is fully open meaning farmers can go online and apply straightaway.”
Crisis aid fund
There was also nothing concrete from the minister on the much-hoped for crisis aid fund for tillage farmers who suffered devastating crop losses in Harvest 2016.
We were expecting something a little more tangible
According to Dunne, Creed said that the Department has agreed to form a technical group to work out the criteria under which aid could be paid out.
“We were expecting something a little more tangible,” Dunne said, “because the Department might not agree to the criteria worked out by the group. So this leaves a big question mark over the crisis aid.”
Updated results of the IFA’s crop loss survey show that total losses to the tillage sector in 2016 stand at €4.637m. This is made up of €3.567m in losses from grain and €1.070m from straw.
Dunne said that overall members of the forum had a “wide-ranging discussion”, which attempted to address all the difficulties in the tillage sector at the moment.
No strong commitment
Billy Gray, representing the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association, said he was also disappointed there was no strong commitment from the minister regarding a tillage crisis fund: "The ICSA is strongly of the view that farmers in the west need some sort of support so that they can keep tillage farming alive in that part of the country. The minister neither gave a yes or no to the fund at the forum, which was disappointing."