IFA Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne said that with the opening of GLAS this week, farmers in commonage areas must not have barriers to joining the scheme put in place. The scheme is a welcome boost to hill farmers.
Speaking following a meeting of the IFA National Hill Committee, Pat Dunne said the flexibilities that were agreed in July last year before the RDP was sent to Brussels must be allowed to work so that any commonage farmer who wants to join the scheme is allowed to do so.
The IFA Hill Chairman said the decision to broaden the eligibility for Natura farmers to secure the GLAS+ payment of an additional €2,000 is important. “However, it is disappointing that this has not been extended to designated commonage areas. The only way the GLAS+ can apply currently is if the farmer has another priority environmental asset on the farm such as private Natura or rare breeds.”
Pat Dunne encouraged farmers in hill areas to consult with their planner with a view to getting into this vital scheme. Where there are issues to be dealt with, IFA will continue to raise these with the Department of Agriculture and involve the Independent Commonage Implementation Committee.
In relation to the 2015-2019 Basic Payment statements, Pat Dunne advised farmers to analyse these statements carefully to ascertain their accuracy. Many hill farmers stand to gain from convergence and it is important that such gains are maximised.