IFA URGE MINISTER COVENEY TO MAKE GLAS A MEANINGFUL SCHEME

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IFA URGE MINISTER COVENEY TO MAKE GLAS A MEANINGFUL SCHEME
04 Mar 2014

IFA URGE MINISTER COVENEY TO MAKE GLAS A MEANINGFUL SCHEME

Rural Development

IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has urged the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to implement a GLAS scheme which is meaningful, and properly rewards farmers for agri-environment measures on their farm.

 

Speaking following a meeting with the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise to discuss details of the new scheme, Flor McCarthy said payment rates across all the measures must be at a level that fully reflects the cost of compliance, the income forgone and a strong incentive for the farmers to participate.

 

The Rural Development Chairman spelt out a number of priorities in the scheme which include: –

 

–          Opening of the scheme on 1st September next, with plans commencing on January 1st 2015 and first payments being made in October 2015;

–          The number of farmers allowed into the scheme should be up to 25,000 year 1 given the high number of farmers who will have left REPS 4 by the end of 2014;

–          The target of 50,000 farmers joining the scheme must be reached by 2017;

–          The Natura payment in SAC/SPA/NHAs and on commonages should be set-out at €150/ha;

–          The maximum €5,000 should be achievable by all farmers;

–          The GLAS Plus scheme where a €2,000 top-up will apply should be focused on Natura Areas and other farmers who do specific additional environmental works;

–          A whole farm payment of €40/ha up to 30ha to pay for the core Nutrient Management Plan;

–          Additional wholefarm top-ups should apply when other specified works are carried out such as liming, hedgerow management;

–          Incentives for farmers to use organic manures from more intensive farms;

–          Planting of new hedgerow should be a measure;

–          The GLAS targeted output scheme should apply in areas other than the Burren in Co Clare;

–          Organic payments should reflect the higher costs associated with reduced output.

 

At the same meeting, IFA Hill Committee Chairman, Pat Dunne said the 80% stocking criteria is not acceptable and he called for the stocking levels to be determined by the farmer and his planner.  He pointed out that hill farmers need a good environmental management scheme which full reflects the huge public value of maintaining the environment in upland areas.  REPS payments represented a significant portion of farm incomes in hill areas and the new GLAS scheme must reflect this he concluded.

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