The IFA is urging Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to speed up the process of issuing the €170m payments due to the 38,000 farmers who have signed up for the GLAS environmental scheme.
IFA rural development chairman, Joe Brady, said that frustration is building up among farmers — some of whom joined the scheme in May 2015 but who still have not seen the value of it with a full-year payment.
Mr Brady welcomed the minister’s announcement that the scheme would open next week. He added that farmers who are contemplating joining the scheme should sit down with their consultants to devise a plan that maximises their payment.
Farmers should insist that planners visit their farm so that the measures chosen are practical and meet the needs of the farmer for the five-year programme, said Mr Brady.
Mr Creed said the overall target for GLAS is to attract at least 50,000 farmers into the scheme over its lifetime and he said that it was clear that GLAS was well on its way to meeting that target.
“On the basis of the 38,000 GLAS plans approved to date, we have already met or exceeded the Rural Development Programme targets for some actions,” said Mr Creed.
“Our top priority remains to attract farmers with Tier One Environmental Assets, like endangered birds, Natura habitat, commonage land and high-status watercourses.
“Farmers are urged to present the highest standard environmental plans under GLAS 3 and to adopt actions that would promote them from Tier 3 to a higher tier to increase their chance of selection into the scheme.
“Over 80% of applicants in the second tranche of GLAS opted to do so and were approved,” the minister said.
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