Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and Minister of State Tom Hayes jointly launched the dairy equipment scheme on the farm of Tom Walsh in Kildorrery, Co Cork. It is part of the new Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme under the Rural Development Programme 2014–2020.
The dairy equipment scheme is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and has €50m indicative funding over the full Rural Development Programme period.
Allocation for the on-farm investment schemes planned under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme II, including the dairy equipment scheme, is €395m.
The dairy equipment scheme is open to farmers who meet the general eligibility criteria, offering a standard rate of 40 percent aid. Specific areas of investment will include milking machines, milk cooling and storage equipment, water heating and in-parlour feeding systems.
Mr Coveney said he wants to ensure farmers have access to the most up-to-date technology to enable them compete in the dairy sector and to bring the highest quality product to market.
He said he would make further announcements in the coming weeks on the launch of the remaining schemes. These will include a new low-emission slurry- spreading scheme which is also being prioritised for early opening.
Coveney, responding to concerns that there is no modernisation grant aid for on-farm grain storage or drying equipment, said there are grants for tillage.
“We are going to introduce grant aid for the first time for tillage farmers for storing organic fertilisers,” he said. “We are trying to encourage tillage farmers to move away from chemical-based fertilisers to organic fertilisers and we want them to be able to store on-farm.”
Coveney said each of the modernisation schemes are about strategic things. It is not simply money for farmers to build more buildings on their farm.
IFA president Eddie Downey, who welcomed the dairy scheme, said all other modernisation schemes must open without further delay. At a meeting with Department officials, IFA Rural Development chairman Flor McCarthy called for extra items of grant aid including slurry and litter storage for grain farms.