Frustration is rising among farmers who are waiting to receive approval for their Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme III (TAMS) applications.

IFA representatives report that farmers are having to go ahead with time-sensitive investments without grant aid amid fears that building projects will not be completed before the looming winter months.

Michael Biggins, IFA rural development chair

TAMS delays are emerging as an issue being widely reported to IFA's rural development chair Michael Biggins. \ Philip Doyle
“TAMS delays have emerged as a big issue. With the year moving on, it is getting really tight for anyone looking to build tanks or accommodation for cattle.

“I really can’t understand the reasons for a delay. The new TAMS is not that different to TAMS II.

“Yeah, there’s a few more investment items but the applications are still the same. The systems are there and when the application system worked the last time, it will work this time.

“One man I was talking to had two accidents with cattle on slats. He has had to move ahead with his job on his own cost because of these delays.”

Maurice Brady, IFA Cavan chair

Rooftop solar and slatted shed delays top Cavan IFA chair Maurice Brady's list of TAMS concerns. \ Philip Doyle
“The main TAMS issues I am hearing are to do with solar applications and slatted accommodation. The building should have been well under way after applications [were sent in] in months ago. When it gets past October, it’s not the time to be digging for tanks.

“These delays won’t encourage uptake; it flies in the face of farmers taking up LESS or putting in extra tank space above what they need – all these environmental measures we are being encouraged to take up.

“It’s been a lean enough year cash-wise with prices and the delay in direct payments will only put more investing in these things.”

Jim Mulhall, IFA Kilkenny chair

One farmer reported to Kilkenny IFA chair Jim Mulhall that he missed out on €36,000 grant aid for an overpass after he chose to stop waiting on an application that went in last May. \ Philip Doyle
“I am caught in the middle of these delays myself so I do know what it’s doing to famers. I have an application in for rooftop solar myself and we are getting a lot of calls from farmers on it.

“One of these, for instance, was a farmer who put in for an overpass crossing through a road. They had go-ahead on road closure licences, road opening licences and they are just going to go ahead with it. They are leaving €36,000 behind because of the delay it would take to get approval.

“Slurry storage is another big one we are hearing about, it’s disgraceful for farmers to have to go ahead without the grants to cover their slurry storage requirements. The silence on it has been deafening from the minister.

“If a scheme is put in place, it must be followed through. The buck has to stop with someone.”

Seán Lavery, IFA Limerick chair

Limerick IFA chair Sean Lavery said that the Department is not keeping up with policy on extra slurry storage. \ Philip Doyle
“The direction of policy is very clear with regards to slurry storage and low emission spreading but the Department does not have the capacity to facilitate farmers in their move with the policy.

“This makes farmers cynical, when they are the ones on the frontline but it’s the Department holding them back.

“I had one farmer call who applied for a LESS tanker, got a loan organised and had a deal done with a supplier, but they are not going to get the tanker before the spreading period closes.”