Written answers

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Schemes

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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469. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has considered a grant scheme open to all farmers and farm contractors to assist with the purchase of low-emission slurry spreading equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5518/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Department does not provide direct supports for contractors but, as small businesses, they are of course eligible for the same supports as every other small business.

In relation to capital investments for on-farm developments, I would like to clarify that the EU regulations that provide for the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014 – 2020, specify that TAMS II beneficiaries must be farmers or groups of farmers. Therefore, the Department is precluded from funding the purchase of equipment such as Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) equipment by contractors under TAMS, unless they are also farmers.

Under the terms and conditions for the LESS measure, the scheme is open to farmers who:

(i) hold a Department identifier

(ii) prior to submitting the online TAMS II application have a minimum of 5 hectares of land owned and/or leased or rented which have been declared under the Basic Payment Scheme or equivalent in the year of application or preceding year, or

(ii) are engaged in the breeding, rearing or fattening of pigs and have a minimum of 60 production units at the time of application in accordance with Annex B of the Scheme;

(iv) Nitrates Derogation applicants (as defined under Statutory Instruments 605 of 2017, 65 of 2018, 40 of 2020) are no longer eligible to apply and receive approval for LESS equipment. Furthermore, applicants farming at or above 170 kgs/N per hectare (as defined under Statutory Instrument 529/2020) in the year of application or the preceding year, will not be eligible for approval after 15 April 2022. Applicants farming below 170 kgs/N per hectare continue to be eligible for LESS equipment Or

(v) in the case of a co-operative, all the members of the co-operative have to each independently meet the eligibility criteria laid down in (i), (ii) or (iii) above.

It is proposed that a new Capital Investment Scheme under Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan will, if approved, provide support to the same category of applicants as TAMS II i.e. farmers or groups of farmers. While not yet finalised, Article 68 and Article 6 of the draft CAP regulations (12148/20) provide the legislative framework.

The Department is fully committed to encouraging the use of this equipment. The interest in the LESS measure of TAMS II has been very strong with over €55 million been paid to date for investments in LESS equipment under TAMS II.


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