IFA Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne has called on the Minister for Agriculture to allow flexibility in the implementation of his new rules for farmers to get into the agri-environment scheme, GLAS.
It is clear that the management agreement will be difficult to achieve in some instances and that the Implementation Body chaired by independent Chairman Joe Healy must be allowed scope to allow farmers who have difficulty in meeting the criteria to be let into the GLAS scheme. The Commonage Implementation Committee must be in a position to turn around within two weeks a positive decision on commonages which have a difficulty in reaching the 50% agreement.
In relation to the timescale for the commonage management plans to be completed Pat Dunne said that interim plans should be allowed with finalised plans coming in at a later stage. This will allow applications to proceed for the GLAS scheme so that significant payments can be made in 2015.
It is of crucial importance that the GLAS scheme opens without delay so that farmers can plan their entry into the scheme along with their Planners.
In relation to the qualification level for Single Farm Payment Pat Dunne also called for flexibility so that farmers are given every opportunity to become eligible for all payments including the Areas of Natural Constraint.