Grassroots breeders including the Equine Farming Taskforce, who originally made the equine submission to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), were celebrating last week as their hard-fought battle to be included in the 2023-2027 Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) was confirmed by Charlie McConalogue TD.
While celebrations are well-earned, questions are being asked why it took the farmers themselves to achieve the change rather than the case being made by official industry leaders.
There is also the question of what’s next? Now that the TAMS scheme has been opened up, will other schemes follow to give equine farmers a fair share of farming grants?
Exactly how much money will be on offer to divide up is still an unknown and what equine farmers may be eligible for is yet to be confirmed.
Following guidance from the IFA Horse Project Team, Equine Farming Taskforce and the recent Horse Sport Ireland equine farming survey, it is thought to possibly include stabling, walkers, pens and other farm infrastructure promoting safety.
Richard Kennedy, Chair of the IFA Horse Project Team said on Monday: “The IFA Horse Project Team along with the full IFA Executive and leadership have fully supported the inclusion of horse farmers in the TAMS scheme and I am delighted to hear the comments by The Minster last week.
“Farmers involved in breeding and rearing horses require assistance and they should be able to avail of TAMS grant funding.
"It is only correct that the omission of this sector of Irish agriculture is now going to be corrected with the inclusion of equine investments in the next CAP.”