Fears over scarcity of planners for GLAS
The race is on among commonage farmers to get plans completed before the opening of the new GLAS scheme for applications this December.
Following the publication of a series of clarifications by the Department of Agriculture on the entry criteria for commonage farmers into GLAS late last week, planners are bracing themselves for a projected 30,000 farmers looking for individual plans to allow them access to the scheme.
"We'll be buried if Teagasc don't step up to the plate," said west Mayo planner, John McDonagh.
He says that he is already getting calls from Teagasc clients worried that the State agency is not going to facilitate them on drawing up plans t oaccess GLAS.
"I can't see enough planners to do the work by April 30, because everybody is going to be seriously busy trying to get new SFP applications in next spring.
Farmers are also concerned about who is going to foot the bill for these plans.
"Say there is three farmers in a commonage, but two of them are staying in AEOS for another year. Does the remaining farmer foot the entire bill for the commonage plan? Does the commonage plan need to be altered when the other farmers want to enter GLAS?" asked Hill Farmers for Action farmer, Brendan Joyce.
The issues are expected to be raised at a series of meetings held by the Department of Agriculture around the country this week. The first two of the eight are to be held in Knockranny House Hotel in Westport, Mayo and the Kenmare Bay Hotel in Kerry this evening.