The construction of modern slurry storage facilities and other on-farm environmental improvements should be exempt from Government’s 10% Mica levy on concrete, says the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).

ICMSA president Pat McCormack criticised the Government for Budget 2023’s “mixed messages to the large numbers of farmers trying to invest in environmental improvements for their farms”.

He said that while the accelerated capital allowances available for slurry storage was meant to give some momentum to those ready to engage with contractors, the decision to put a 10% levy on the kind of concrete products that would be used in construction has “effectively negated the benefit of changing the capital allowances”. He said it is also “undermining the TAMS scheme”.

‘Already obvious’

The Tipperary dairy farmer suggested that it is “already obvious that the combination of both these measures is going to end up with them cancelling each other out”.

“We have the Government effectively forcing farmers to build greater slurry storage capacity and we have farmers ready to do that but hampered by rampant construction inflation and a shortage of contractors.

“Now we have the Government effectively putting 10% on the costs of that slurry storage construction through the Mica levy and that’s going to mean a drastic slowing down of this work – if not an outright stop,” McCormack warned.

Way forward

The ICMSA president said there is a “way forward” if “Government was willing to recognise the obvious difference between farm building projects for environmental purposes and other building projects”.

“We don’t think it would tax any legislator or civil servants’ ingenuity to make the distinction between these environmental projects and other general building work.

“We were already struggling to get the building done and the Government, through this Mica levy, have – at the stroke of a pen – effectively made their own goal of on-farm environmental improvements impossible.

“We think that the Government should certainly revisit this and get their policy ducks in a row.

"There wouldn’t be any serious objection to it because, as the Government itself says, environmental improvements to farms are an absolute requirement if we are to even consider achieving the 25% reduction in agri emissions that they have deemed a national priority,” he said.

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