Change in selection criteria on Dairy Scheme an opportunity for Tipp farmers

There is an opportunity for Tipp farmers looking for a dairy upgrading grant - McCormack says change in Selection Criteria and underspend on Dairy Equipment Scheme presents favourable application opportunity

There is an opportunity for Tipp farmers looking for a dairy upgrading grant - McCormack says change in Selection Criteria and underspend on Dairy Equipment Scheme presents favourable application opportunity

Given the present underspend on the Dairy Equipment Scheme an opportunity is being presented for dairy farmers who intend to upgrade their dairy facilities in the next two years to apply and get approval for a 40% grant for dairy equipment, according to Pat McCormack, Deputy President and Chairman of ICMSA’s Dairy Committee “With the pressures on dairy farmers at the present time in terms of cashflow and debt, it’s likely that upgrading facilities may have been pushed down the list of priorities. But we’d like to remind farmers that successful applicants have two years to complete the specified works under the scheme so applying now allows the farmer until Spring 2015 to complete the investment”, said Mr McCormack.

“Many farmers have indicated their desire to upgrade their facilities but have been put off the Dairy Equipment scheme due to the use of selection criteria to determine whether a farmer is successful or not. ICMSA has been informed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine that, as of now, selection criteria are unlikely to be applied given the number of applicants and that there is currently approximately €1m available from the last tranche. This underspend is not surprising given the income and other pressures on farmers over the last year and it does provide an opportunity for farmers to secure a grant for dairy investment. We’d advise all farmers considering such work to consider the Dairy Equipment Scheme. The Department should also review the items eligible for investment under the scheme in order to make the scheme more relevant to dairy farmers”, continued Mr. McCormack.

In addition, and for existing approvals, Mr. McCormack said that the two year period for completion of works should be extended where required by the applicant. “Farmers in good faith expected to complete the work within the two-year period but with the substantial reduction in farm incomes and ongoing costs due to the atrocious weather conditions, farmers simply have not been able to financially complete the investment. The Department needs to recognise these very genuine cases and immediately extend the period to complete these works due to the exceptional circumstances that faced farmers over the last year” concluded the Deputy President.