IFA President Eddie Downey has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, to intervene with his Department to remove barriers that are denying farmers the opportunity to maximise their payments under the GLAS scheme.
At a meeting of the IFA Executive Council in Dublin this week, Eddie Downey said that it is unacceptable that farmers who plan to join GLAS cannot do certain measures on a land parcel where another land based measure is being applied. Farmers should be allowed to split LPIS parcels and not be limited to measures which they can put on that LPIS parcel. Many farmers will be interested in applying for the Low Input Grassland measure but are not being allowed apply for linear measures such as hedgerow measures and river margins on that same parcel.
At the Executive Council, Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said that these issues must be addressed and IFA is now insisting that the Minister tells his Department that farmers with their Planners should be allowed split parcels before the 2015 BPS application.
Flor McCarthy has also advised farmers to get the most competitive rate along with a quality service in negotiating planning fees for GLAS. Recent discussions with Teagasc have resulted in an equivalent annual charge of €180/annum for each of the 5 year plan. Teagasc GLAS charges are on top of normal client fees and are paid at a rate of €435 to draw up the Plan and €465 at the end of 2016. No further GLAS charges apply except for soil analysis.
In relation to the online computer difficulties, Flor McCarthy has clearly pointed out that the Department of Agriculture system must be fit for purpose and must be capable of dealing with the huge number of applications expected.
Concluding, Flor McCarthy said that all farmers who apply for GLAS must be accepted into the scheme. IFA is now seeking an urgent meeting with Minister Coveney on GLAS issues.