IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has said that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must ensure that all applicants who apply for the current phase of GLAS must be accepted into the scheme.
Flor McCarthy pointed out that the use of a points system for Tier 3 farmers only is unfair given the Minister’s intransigence on the split parcel problem. Some farmers will struggle to get up to the 16.3 point score set for Tier 3 farmers as the number of options has been reduced for many farmers who were not allowed to split parcels to carry out certain land-based or linear measures.
Continuing, the IFA Rural Development Chairman said that given that there has been so many changes to the specification and terms and conditions since the scheme was first opened at the end of February, flexibility must be shown in allowing all farmers into the scheme. All the problems with the IT system have not helped in maximising uptake.
Flor McCarthy said that farmers who take up the Wild Bird Cover measure must be informed that the area involved will continue to qualify for ANC payment. For example, a farmer with 30ha who chooses to put in 3ha of Wild Bird Cover measure will not now lose this area worth €288 in ANC payment.
In relation to the closing date of 22nd May, IFA is calling on the Minister to continue to accept applications after that date and at least up to 29th May BPS closing date.