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IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to allow payments worth up to €60m to more than 9,000 GLAS and 5,000 AEOS farmers to be made now and to resolve any issues at a later stage.

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Following a pre-Budget meeting with the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin, IFA President Eddie Downey said today (Fri) that next month’s Budget will be critical to underpin the contribution of farming and the agri sector to economic recovery across rural Ireland.

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IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said the priority for Minister Coveney must be to make GLAS available to more than 20,000 farmers from October. This would bring the total in the scheme to nearly 50,000 in 2016 which is in line with commitments laid out in the 2014-2020 RDP.

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The Department of Agriculture is reminding AEOS participants that inspections are currently taking place on selected farms.

Farmers should ensure that they are in compliance with the undertakings they have made under their AEOS contracts to avoid penalties and reductions in payments.

The areas where most penalties occur are:

Additional New Hedgerow – number of plants per meter not present; length of hedgerow in original AEOS application not delivered; hedgerow not fenced nor maintained in accordance with specifications.

Species Rich Grassland – area less than claimed; less than the five positive species required; more than the 20% negative species allowed; topping not been delayed until the required date.

Traditional Hay Meadow – failure to deliver area claimed in AEOS application; cut before the 1st July; not maintained as per the AEOS specification.

Traditional Stone Wall Maintenance – failure to deliver the length in AEOS application; stone walls entered not been suitable for the action.

Laying of Hedgerow & Coppicing of Hedgerows- failure to carry out the work in line with the AEOS specification; more than the allowed 20% done each year; the hedges entered for the action not suitable.

AEOS participants are also reminded that they must submit any documents, such as record sheets, requested by an Inspector within the timeframe given, to avoid possible delays in their AEOS payment and other penalties.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to give a definite date for the re-opening of GLAS in the autumn to give farmers ample opportunity to join the scheme. This follows confirmation that 27,000 joined GLAS before the end of May closure. IFA is insisting that all of those farmers are accepted into the scheme.

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