The Dealer notes that the horse has already bolted for farmers hoping to draw down Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) grants to upgrade more traditional draught options for field work, especially for those employing just the one horsepower.
Last week, Kerry TD Michael Healy Ray quizzed Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue on why there is an “absence of grant aid for farmers with the traditional working horse” in TAMS III.
The minister replied that horse-drawn equipment lies “outside the scope” of TAMS, which instead favours “modernisation”.
Nowhere in the extensive TAMS listings can reaper-binders, steam-threshers or even the humble sickle bar be found. The Dealer waits with bated breath for the inclusion of eligible ass-drawn carts in grant aid, or a fall in diesel prices at very least.