IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has welcomed the extension of the closing date of GLAS to 22nd May as this will give farmers more opportunity to assess the scheme and to make an application.
However, Flor McCarthy said it was vitally important that the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney indicated at this stage that the scheme will open in the autumn for those farmers who are not in a position to maximise their payments, if they were to apply now.
The Rural Development Chairman said that indications to date suggest that there is huge interest in the scheme, particularly in commonages, Natura areas and on livestock farms. In addition, interest has been shown from tillage farmers and some dairy farmers who can avail of measures which fit in with their farming systems.
Flor McCarthy said that it was vitally important that there are 50,000 farmers in the GLAS scheme in 2016 and that the allocation required of €250m per year is put in place. The payments of GLAS are critical for low income farmers who can mix the provision of environmental goods with normal agricultural activity.
IFA is advising farmers who have not yet considered the GLAS scheme to contact their planner to assess the scheme and to choose the measures which can maximise their payments.