IFA Rural Development Chairman, Flor McCarthy has said that farmers must be given every opportunity to maximise their payments under the GLAS scheme.
Speaking following a meeting with the Department of Agriculture in Athlone, Flor McCarthy said that the splitting of parcel issue between area based and linear measures must be resolved so that farmers can pick the most appropriate measures to secure the maximum payment.
Flor McCarthy expressed concern that the water vulnerable areas have not been finalised as there are many farmers on marginal and wet land who will be depending on this category to be prioritised under the scheme.
The Rural Development Chairman said that the Minister for Agriculture must now make a clear statement that the GLAS scheme will open again in autumn for those farmers who will be in a better position to maximise their payments following their 2015 BPS application.
Flor McCarthy also pointed out that farmers in Natura areas, if they have significant designations other than those for endangered birds, should also be given an opportunity to avail of the GLAS + €2,000 top-up.
At the same meeting, Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne, told the Department that it would be unacceptable that a penalty arising in a commonage situation would apply to all shareholders. While IFA got assurances that this would not be the case, nevertheless the Department needs to clearly spell this out to planners.
Also, Pat Dunne said that the guidelines to draw up the commonage management plans must be issued, as farmers need to know what requirements will be sought. n addition, the IFA Hill Chairman called on the Minister to ensure that farmers who have private, non-designated mountain are allowed to put this land in for a measure.