James Brennan, Leitrim IFA Rural Development Chairman, has called for an extension into 2014 for farmers to apply for certain schemes.
“For example, the Dairy Equipment Scheme which has a four-month tranche finishing at the end of 2013 had a projected expenditure of €45m when the scheme was first introduced in 2011. Based on completed applications to date, €10m has been paid out. Under the Sheep Handling and Fencing Scheme less than €1m of the €8m allocated has been used up to date,” he said.
“While there are still a lot of applicants to complete work, a significant amount of money will remain unspent unless the schemes remain open in early 2014 and in advance of a new Farm Investment Scheme in the next Rural Development Plan 2014– 2020.”
He also called for speedier processing of existing applications.