The Government has asked the EU Commission to extend the end of December, 2012 deadline for completion of work in the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) for Sow Welfare.
But such an extension would have no effect on the entry into force of the new EU animal welfare rules for sow housing on Jan 1, 2013, said Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney. “It would simply enable those farmers who completed the investment works after that date to continue to receive grant-aid under the scheme.”
He said Teagasc have estimated that about 36% of pig units, housing 44% of the sow population, are presently compliant with the new welfare provisions for housing of sows.
In the TAMS for Sow Welfare, 32 applications for grants worth about €3m had been received. Grant-aid is available at a rate of 40% to eligible producers with a maximum investment ceiling of €300,000. A total of €13m has been set aside in this scheme. It follows two schemes in 2005 and 2007 which made payments of €6.2m to 63 applicants.
Applications must be accompanied by either full planning permission or a declaration of exemption from planning. Mr Coveney said he has written to the environment minister to highlight issues in this area.
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