€1,500 available from farm waste management grants

PERHAPS the best investment of €1,500 which many farmers discovered at the Ploughing was the cost of making an application to the Farm Waste Management Grant Scheme.

This is the approximate fee for planning permission and engineering drawings. For some farmyard improvements, no planning permission is needed, so the application process is less costly.

The scheme offers all farmers grants of 60% to 70% of the investment needed to meet the additional requirements of the Nitrates Directive.

Once their application is in before December 31, farmers have two years to do any construction work for which grant aid is approved.

By the end of 2008, they must have enough storage capacity for their livestock slurry and manures, and soiled water and effluents.

But if they decide not to go ahead with construction, due to changing circumstances, they will only lose any costs incurred in application.

Although about 9,000 applications have been made, and about 5,000 approved, many farmers have left it late to start the process, and only started talking to Teagasc about it at the Ploughing.

The advice to them from Dr Tom Kelly, programme manager, Teagasc Farm Management and Technology Services, was to think carefully about their farmyard plans and discuss them with their adviser; they could be left with an expensive white elephant, if they don’t choose a building versatile enough for changing farming circumstances.

As the scheme forms part of the EU Rural Development Programme, applications close at the end of 2006.

Farmers can apply for grant aid as soon as any required planning permission has been applied for to the local authority. These applications would, however, not be further processed until full and final planning permission is received.

* Also offering help in meeting Nitrates Directive requirements at the Ploughing was Finrone, formerly Portapig.

They claimed their new slurry treatment will solve IPPC and Nitrates Directive problems by reducing nitrogen and phosphorous in slurry.

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