IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has said that farmers must be given every opportunity to maximise their payments under the GLAS scheme by allowing an extension of the closing date from the 30th April to 30th May.
This extension will allow farmers and planners to maximise the payments under the scheme. It will also deal with the technical and specification issues which have developed since the scheme opened over a month ago.
Flor McCarthy said, “The splitting of parcel issue between area-based and linear measures must be resolved so that farmers can pick the most appropriate measures to secure the maximum payment”.
He expressed concern that the water vulnerable areas have not been finalised as there are many farmers on marginal and wet land who will be depending on this category to be prioritised under the scheme.
The Rural Development Chairman said that the Minister for Agriculture must now make a clear statement that the GLAS scheme will open again in autumn for those farmers who will be in a better position to maximise their payments following their 2015 BPS application.
Flor McCarthy also pointed out that farmers in Natura areas, if they have significant designations other than those for endangered birds, should also be given an opportunity to avail of the GLAS + €2,000 top-up. Also flexibility must be given to ensure that restrictions are not imposed on lands which are not designated.