Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed that all eligible Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes III (TAMS) applicants to the first tranche of the scheme will have their applications approved.

Minister McConalogue has also put in place a system for farmers who applied for grant-aided slurry storage or animal welfare investments under tranche 1 to seek priority approval if their investments are urgent.

This cohort of farmers has until 15 September to submit the relevant letter outlining their reasons for priority, with the letter template on the Department of Agriculture’s website.

“I am delighted to confirm that a total of 8,241 applications were submitted under tranche 1 of TAMS 3,” the Minister said.

“This is the largest number of applications ever received by my Department for a TAMS tranche - approximately four times the average number of applications received per tranche in TAMS 2.


“I can also confirm that 100% of eligible applications will be approved for funding, in keeping with my commitment to assist farmers to address our climate and sustainability targets.”

Confirmation had been given on Thursday that all eligible applicants to tranche 1 would receive grant which came after the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) met with the Minister on to discuss nitrates derogation, scheme payment delays and TAMS applications.

Farmers have faced delays on hearing back on TAMS III applications. / Ramona Farrelly

“Today I indicated that my Department would, in the next few days, announce a system to prioritise urgent approval cases for slurry and manure storage facilities, and urgent animal welfare related investments, required for the winter of 2024. I will be making a further announcement on this very shortly.”

Derogation review needed

The ICMSA has also raised concerns with the Minister’s announcement that the European Commission would not allow Ireland any time flexibility on the decision to cut derogation stocking rates from 250kg N/ha to 220kg N/ha.

“The current derogation decision requires a reduction from 250kg/ha to 220kg/ha in significant areas of the country from 1 January 2024, because there has not been sufficient improvement in water quality,” Minister McConalogue commented on Thursday.

“Without that provision, the strong likelihood is that Ireland’s derogation would not have been renewed at all or the allowance would have been lower from the beginning.”

He urged farmers to prepare for the new stocking rate requirements which will come into effect over much of the country from next January.

“There may be some scope for some minor adjustments in the mapping, but this is unlikely to impact the vast majority of derogation farmers.”

The Minister said that it was critically important now to focus attention on improving water quality to support a credible case for the renewal of the derogation in 2026.

Payment delays

The Minister had invited all farming organisations to the meeting attended by the ICMSA, but all others boycotted it, with around 100 Irish Farmers' Association members protesting outside Ag House as it got under way.

A commitment has been given that regular scheme payment dates will be resumed from 2024 onwards, but no movement has been made on the 2023 delays to Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) or the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) payments.

“I would prefer to be in a position to make these payments earlier, but this is simply not possible this year.

“I was pleased to be able to confirm to [the] ICMSA today, however, that we would bring these payment dates forward next year when the new CAP has bedded in.

“I look forward to ongoing engagement with all farm organisations as part of finalisation of the Farmers' Charter negotiations and implementation of the related targets under an independently chaired monitoring committee.”

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