The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine is being called upon to reopen the Calf Investment Scheme (CIS) “immediately” so that farmers can get approval for calf equipment in advance of the 2021 calving season.
With only 700 claims for payment submitted out of a total of 2,400 applications, participants are being reminded this week that the closing date for submissions under the Scheme is Wednesday, September 30, next.
The Scheme aims to assist farmers with the purchase of new equipment for the rearing of dairy bred calves and payments are fully funded by the Government.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the Farm and Rural Affairs Committee of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Denis Drennan, advised farmers to ensure that “all necessary documentation” in respect of claims is submitted by the September 30 deadline.
He also called on Minister Charlie McConalogue to reopen the scheme so that farmers can avail of its benefits next year.
“ICMSA welcomed the introduction of this scheme earlier this year,” he added.
“While there has been significant interest from farmers in investing in calf infrastructure, the impact of Covid-19 in early Spring affected farming like all sectors, and many interested farmers have been forced to delay investments given the uncertainty around the projected duration of Covid-19 and the reduction in farm incomes.
“This is the most likely explanation for the slow uptake to date so perhaps the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine would consider an extension to the closing date to allow farmers more time to complete the investment.
“Given the ongoing growth in the dairy herd, calf infrastructure will be a similarly ongoing requirement.”