Despite a slow start to approval letters reaching farmers, progress on TAMS III tranche one has been steady over the past four weeks, with an additional 704 applications processed in the past week.

The current figures released by the Department of Agriculture show that 3,488 applications have been approved to date, with a further 4,079 applications currently being reviewed.

Some 434 applications have been denied across the 10 different schemes, with 202 applications withdrawn by farmers.

Progress on nearly all schemes has been good, with those encompassing a larger number of mobile items (farm safety and LESS) seeing approval rates now close to 90%.

However, approval rates for one of the scheme's new elements, the Women Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS), has remained low.

10 approvals

Of the 259 applications received under the scheme, just 10 applications have been approved, with a further 13 applications rejected and seven withdrawn. The number represents just 4% of applications (excluding the withdrawn seven) being approved to date.

The scheme faced much criticism when the details of it were announced last year.

The applicant must have been named on the herd number for the holding and the herd must have submitted an application on BPS for the 2022 reference year either as an individual, registered farm partnership or company.

Educational requirements were also set out for those who do not meet the reference year requirement, with women farmers having had to complete the green cert or equivalent degree on or before the submission of an application or at the latest within 36 months from the date of issue [of approval].

Where the educational requirements were not met within the 36 months, then the grant rate would fall to 40%. The window to submit applications under tranche one was also extremely tight, with only 11 days between the opening and closing dates.