Macra na Feirme has welcomed the recent measures put in place to help young farmers in the development of their business. The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) has provided financial assistance for building work and farm modernisation with the use of newer technologies and facilities. However, not all sectors are equally catered for in this scheme, and some you might say have been left out altogether.

A young farmer entering the dairy industry can get a 60% grant and claim up to €80,000 on anything from a milking parlour, housing, cattle crush to slurry tanks and slurry spreading equipment. Apart from roadways and water infrastructure, you can basically take your pick.

A young sheep farmer can avail of a mobile handling unit, a permanent handling unit, housing and even sheep fencing is to be added to the list. Beef farmers can add, among other things, weighing scales and dehorning crates to their facilities. Pig and poultry farmers can choose from a list including solar panels and insulation.

Once again, the tillage farmer has been left out in the cold. An after-thought has suggested the inclusion of grain storage facilities in the TAMS list. The Department put the cart before the horse on that one, building a grain store without providing anything to actually help to grow any grain.

In recent times, tillage farmers have been among the most regulated in Ireland. Trailer regulations came into effect at the beginning of 2016. These regulations have put a lot of machinery off the road, yet no grant aid to help in its replacement.

The new pesticide regulations will require upgrades to sprayers or the purchase of a new one by the end of 2016, yet there is still no grant aid and all of this along with obeying a non-sensible three-crop rule and dealing with continually poor prices

So, one farmer can buy a machine to milk their cows, another can fence their sheep and another will have no trailer to draw their produce to a newly built grain store. The TAMS list needs a revamp.