Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D and Ministers of State Senator Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon T.D have announced the opening of the new Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS 3).
TAMS provides funding for capital investments on farms and will be in place for five years with a budget of €370m. Tranche 1 of the scheme will open next Wednesday 22 February with solar panels on farms the first available investment. The other investments will become available on a phased basis during Tranche 1 which will close on 16 June.
There are a range of new improvements to the TAMS scheme including increased grant aid rates, investment ceilings, new investments, and new support categories. This includes enhanced grant-rate of 60% compared to a lower rate of 40% in TAMS II in respect of investments under the Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment, Organic Capital Investments and Farm Safety Investments.
On the increased rate for the Organic Capital Investment Scheme, Minister of State Pippa Hackett commented:
“I am delighted to have secured an increase to a rate of 60% grant aid under the Organic Capital Investment Scheme for 2023. We have seen unprecedented demand for entry into our Organic Farming Scheme and the 60% grant aid rate under the Organic Capital Investment Scheme is a further demonstration of our commitment to ensuring that organic farmers receive the necessary support to upgrade their infrastructure. We are committed to reaching our target of 10% of our agricultural area land farmed organically by 2030, and this increased grant rate is an important step along that journey.”
Commenting on the changes, Minister McConalogue said:
“TAMS continues to be a hugely beneficial scheme for farmers, and I am delighted that it will continue in 2023 in a much bigger and better way than previously. TAMS will continue to support productive farming and helping ensure that we remain a modern and futureproofed sector. We are also using TAMS to align more with our climate and sustainability goals through renewable energy, low emission spreading equipment and higher grant rates for organic farmers. It will also be a driver of our priorities on increasing the number of young farmers and women farmers and improving farm safety with higher grant rates for all of these.”
In order to encourage the purchase of solar investments reducing dependence on fossil energy by farmers, the solar scheme will be ring fenced with its own investment ceiling of €90,000 and will be grant aided at the enhanced rate of 60%.
The Minister added:
“At a time of rising energy costs, I have prioritised the introduction of the solar investments first which will be open from next Wednesday. In addition to the higher grant rates, I have also increased the size of the available investments from 12kW to 62kW. The scheme will enable every farmer to generate their own power for their dwelling and holding and will help to achieve a more sustainable rural economy, assisting farmers in reducing energy costs on their holdings”.
Under TAMS 3, the ceiling for investment will be reset to €90,000 per holding for the duration of the scheme. This means every farmer who benefitted under TAMS 2 can reapply in full under the new scheme. In addition, the ceiling for investment for the pig and poultry strand of support will increase to €500,000. Along with the solar panels, the Low Emissions Slurry Spreading (LESS) equipment will continue to have its own standalone investment ceiling.
On the increased rate for the Farm Safety Scheme, Minister of State with special responsibility for farm safety Martin Heydon said:
“If we are to make farms safer places, farmers must be supported to invest in physical safety infrastructure. The new higher farm safety grant rate of 60% in TAMS 3 will allow farmers to reduce the risk on their farms by availing of options like replacing old slats, installing a better handling unit or calving area, or upgrading their farmyard lighting. I would encourage all farmers to seriously look at these investments as part of our efforts to reduce the number of fatal and serious incidents on farms.
“In addition, for the first time under TAMS, equine breeders will have the opportunity to invest in important infrastructure for their farms including housing, training facilities, and fencing. This will help make the breeding and handling of horses safer for farmers and the animals. It will be a real gamechanger for small breeders who are at the heart of the sector.”
TAMS 3 will run for five years and will include 10 schemes; it is will open for receipt of applications on a phased basis by scheme. Solar will open before Wednesday 22 February. Next to follow will be Animal Welfare, Nutrient Storage Scheme (AWNSS) by mid-March and the remaining schemes will be open for applications on a phased basis by end May.
It is anticipated that the first Tranche for all schemes will close on 16 June 2023. The scheme does not operate on a first come first served basis and all applications will go through a ranking and selection process after the closing date.
In addition to the changes above, there will be a wide range of new investments included under the TAMS 3 schemes, including the following:
Health and fertility monitoring systems
Automatic Drafting System
Milk recording equipment
Backup PTO generator
Upgrade of water supply on farms with solar and nose pumps
Pasture management machinery, including soil aerators. Also, mulchers to deal with encroaching scrub, instead of burning, are to be included.
Equine Training Facilities
New investments around lighting, drinkers, and ventilation for the Poultry Sector
Investments to assist the Potato sector around storing and handling are to be included, along with handling equipment for other crops.
Biomass storage and handling equipment is to be included to support renewable energy.
A range of pesticide reduction equipment is being included for the tillage sector including interrow cultivators, and weather stations.