Grant aid in the TAMS scheme should be increased from the current 40% to 60% for women in the next CAP, the Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group has said.

The newly formed group is an independent, voluntary body, which includes representatives from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA), the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA), Macra, Irish Organic Association (IOA), South East Women in Farming and West Women in Farming.

The sole purpose of the group is to represent the interests of women in farming under the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

On TAMS, it said the 60% grant aid should also be carried through to registered farm partnerships.

It has also proposed that the lifetime ceiling applied to the amount of State aid granted to a young trained farmer under agriculture tax reliefs be increased from €70,000 to €120,000 for young women under 40 and increased to €100,000 for women aged over 40.

Knowledge Transfer schemes

With regard to Knowledge Transfer (KT) schemes, the group requests that KT groups with three or more female members receive a top-up payment of €100 per recipient.

In addition to this, it is recommended that specific female-only KT groups are introduced, especially in counties where female attendance in KT groups is low.

Information on schemes and meetings

The group called for more transparency in relation to the gender breakdown of schemes and suggests that this information should be made available alongside the current breakdown of payment information on the Department’s website.

Revenue should also provide a breakdown of agricultural tax reliefs availed of by each gender, the group says.

In addition to this, the times and dates of farm meetings need to be taken into consideration, as many women continue to support farms by way of off-farm employment, it says, adding that the timing of agricultural courses should also be considered by providers such as Teagasc.

Proposed tax and other interventions

The group proposes that a partnership tax credit be introduced, similar to that of the current succession tax credit that exists, allowing for an annual €5,000 tax credit over a five-year period for farmers who introduce a registered female farm partner.