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The Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme: what is it and what's it worth?

TFBS Open for Applications

This week the Heritage Council announced that the 2024 Traditional Farm Buildings Scheme (TFBS) is now open for applications. 
This new scheme, which provides funding for the conservation and repair of traditional farm buildings, should be an exciting opportunity for farmers with eligible constructs on their land. Personally, I am a big supporter of what the scheme is trying to do. Farms across the country are dotted with old stone buildings that have fallen into disrepair. These buildings often have deep cultural significance but farmers lack the resources to maintain them. The provision of state aid to restore them can only be a positive. 
It is also noteworthy that the scheme is not directed only at classic "outhouses", but will also cover works done on other historic structures such as old yard surfaces, walls, gate pillars and gates. 

TFBS: what's it worth?

The value of the grant depends on the cost of the proposed works. You can receive up to 75% of the cost of the restoration and conservation works, up to a maximum payment of €30,000. Grant payments start off at €4,000. 
As so often with state grant-aided projects, this may be a sticking point for some farmers. Given the current cost of construction works, even the maximum payment here would not go very far to "save" many crumbling farm structures. For those who need minor reparation works, however, the payment should be sufficient to make it worthwhile.   
Conservation work covered by the grant includes work on roofs, walls, windows and doors, as well as structural repairs. 

Am I eligible?

The TFBS is open to a significant cohort of farmers, with all of the following being eligible to apply:
  1. Those approved to participate in the Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES)
  2. Those participating in the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) calls 1, 2 and 3, the Pearl Mussel projects, the Hen Harrier Projects and the Burren Programme, provided they were active participants as of 31 December 2022 (or those who have completed the full term of the contract of the relevant EIP). 
  3. Those approved to participate in the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS)
To apply for this programme, you must be the owner of the building/structure in question, or have received permission from the owner (proof of owner consent must be provided).

More Information

The Heritage Council has confirmed that it will host an information evening for interested parties on Friday, 1st of March at 12pm. 
The Council has stated that the principle of minimum intervention applies to this scheme. In essence, this means that funding provided will be intended to fix only what is wrong with the structure, and will not set out to do too much more. Therefore, minor restoration or decorative work are very unlikely to be funded under this scheme.