The IFA's rural development committee chair has taken aim at the Department of Agriculture, saying that in regard to TAMS building work, the Department is basing grant money on outdated costings.

Michael Biggins said that rising building costs, particularly rising steel costs, are adding to financial pressure for farmers.

Under the TAMS grant, farmers can avail of a 40% or 60% (for young farmers) grant on certain items or constructions, but the IFA says that funding approvals and COVID-19-related delays mean that farmers are facing costly re-pricings.

“Delays in issuing approvals, coupled with COVID-19 disruption, are forcing farmers to reprice jobs and they are finding big increases in quotations,” he said.

“Materials such as steel and concrete have seen steep increases because of problems with supply chains.

“In some cases, farmers are having difficulty in sourcing materials. The Department response has been too sluggish and is not reflecting the reality on the ground.”

Biggins also said that the cost of a farmer’s own labour at €13.50/hour under the scheme needed to be raised to €15/hour.