IFA Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne has welcomed the assurance given by Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed that commonage farmers will get their 2016 GLAS payment at the same time as all other GLAS farmers, within the next six weeks.
Pat Dunne said that the delay in getting the online system up and running for advisors to lodge commonage plans has been unacceptable, but the Minister’s commitment to have interim arrangements in place for submitting commonage management plans should ease the concerns of farmers with commonage.
IFA is urging all advisors to ensure that plans for all commonage are inputted. Farmers who are unsure of their situation should contact their own adviser to ensure that a plan is done for their commonage.
So far up to 7,000 commonage farmers have signed up for GLAS and it is expected that in the next phase of GLAS that the number of commonage farmers in the scheme will increase to well in excess of 10,000.
The IFA Hill Chairman said all direct payments are a vital lifeline for hill farmers and the GLAS scheme along with ANC’s, BPS and the soon to be introduced sheep scheme impact on supporting farm income.
In the implementation of GLAS in hill areas, IFA has consistently called for flexibility. In this regard the Commonage Implementation Committee has a key role to play. This matter will be raised at a meeting with Minister Creed later this week. It is now important that an independent Chairman is immediately appointed so that work can commence where problems emerge.