There has been an angry reaction over the last week from farmers and farm organisations regarding the exclusion of dairy equipment as an entry category in the proposed On-farm Capital Investment Scheme in the next CAP.
Details of specific items which will be eligible for grant aid have not been listed, but its exclusion is a strong indication that should dairy equipment feature, it will carry much less weight than the current TAMS scheme.
The news follows an announcement just a few weeks ago of a new application process for specific dairy equipment, which many feel also makes it more challenging to receive grant aid. Under tranche 23, which opened on 24 July, farmers seeking grant aid funding for a milking machine, dairy structure, milk storage and cooling equipment or in-parlour meal feeding systems must be compliant with farm waste and farm nutrient storage requirements at the time of application and submit details to prove such.
The IFA has described the exclusion as an insult to the dairy sector. IFA dairy chair Stephen Arthur said: “The exclusion of the dairy equipment scheme from TAMS in the consultation document for the CAP strategic plan is actively discriminating against the dairy sector and we are insisting that it’s re-instated to support investment in our sector.”
It did not close the door on the inclusion of dairy equipment, citing that all capital scheme measures will be available to all farmers across all sectors
On Tuesday night’s online CAP town hall meeting, the Department acknowledged it had received a high number of questions regarding the exclusion of dairy equipment from the category listing.
It did not close the door on the inclusion of dairy equipment, citing that all capital scheme measures will be available to all farmers across all sectors, adding that the list of individual items is still being looked at.
The officials on the virtual meeting said they were happy to listen to farmer feedback and proposals but did temper expectations, stating that the new scheme would have a greater focus on environmental investments.
This vagueness and mixed messaging from the Department is just unacceptable
Reacting to Tuesday night’s CAP meeting, ICMSA president Pat McCormack said: “We have to start dealing in specifics and that means the Department has to start giving us the specifics. If we are going to have a real consultation on this CAP – and it is desperately needed – then let’s at least know the facts about what it is we’re discussing.
“I asked a specific question on whether grant aid will be available for dairy investments under the new CAP and the Department response was vague and non-committal. This vagueness and mixed messaging from the Department is just unacceptable and avoidable: it is not asking a lot for a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.”