IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to reopen the GLAS scheme immediately and to bring the numbers in the scheme to well in excess of 50,000 farmers.
He said that with €1.4bn allocated to agri-environment schemes in the period 2014-2020, it is vital that the annual allocation to GLAS is increased to over €250m per annum to ensure this funding is fully utilised and flows to farmers.
It is also important that the scheme is re-opened immediately in order for farmers to have their plans prepared in time for payments to apply from January 1st 2017. Joe Brady pointed out that an immediate reopening of GLAS is possible as the Department of Agriculture has indicated to IFA that there will be no significant changes to the scheme.
The Rural Development Chairman said the situation where 2,500 Tier 3 farmers were not included in the scheme when it last opened must not be repeated and all farmers who apply should be allowed into the scheme.
No delay in GLAS payments
The Rural Development Chairman also said delays in GLAS 2016 payments will not be acceptable and he called for Minister Creed to immediately clarify the situation.
He called for 2016 GLAS payments to commence immediately, as the Charter of Farmers’ Rights commits to GLAS payments in October. “Suggestions of payments in December are not acceptable as many farmers have been incurring costs in participating in the scheme for well over 12 months now and need a payment to address serious cashflow problems resulting from this.”
Meanwhile, IFA Hill Committee Pat Dunne has reminded GLAS commonage farmers that they must indicate they are signing up to an interim commonage plan by the end of October. This is necessary to allow payment to be made to all GLAS participants at the same time.