IFA Rural Development Committee Joe Brady has said that the introduction of new measures to the Rural Development Plan is welcome, however further changes to schemes would have helped uptake in the €4bn seven-year programme.
He said it is now important that an early EU decision is secured so that the changes to the RDP can be implemented from January 1st 2017.
Speaking following a meeting of the RDP Monitoring Committee in Kildare this week, Joe Brady said the new Sheep Scheme is a welcome addition and will boost farm income to this low margin sector. However, he said, the changes to GLAS for tillage farmers will have limited impact, as will the other minor changes to the scheme.
Confirmation was given at the meeting that the third phase of GLAS will open in mid-October with the expectation that more than 50,000 farmers would be in the scheme from January 1st next.
Joe Brady expressed disappointment that no additional items have been added to the TAMS scheme.
He said the commitment to finally start the process for the locally led agri-environment schemes in Hen Harrier, Fresh Pearl Water and other areas is long overdue as there is a total of €70m allocated to this measure in the RDP.
At the meeting, IFA urged the full implementation of all measures to ensure full utilisation of funding up to 2020. Concern was expressed with delays in the processing of schemes due IT issues in the Department of Agriculture.