Farmers losing out on €35m in GLAS funds
Ireland will struggle to draw down the full €250m annual funding for GLAS and the farm sector could lose out on around €35m per year as a consequence, industry experts have predicted.
The likely shortfall in spending is due to the tight timeframe remaining for GLAS 3 applications to be submitted and processed this year, and the inability of applicants to secure the maximum pay-out under the scheme.
Applications for GLAS 3 will open in early November and close in mid-December, the Department of Agriculture has indicated.
This only leaves five to six weeks for planners to draw up and submit GLAS plans to the Department.
A similar window for applications was available for GLAS 2 last year and advisors managed to get around 11,500 farmers approved and into the scheme.
A comparable performance for GLAS 3 would result in close to 50,000 farmers gaining entry to the scheme - as 27,000 farmers have already joined GLAS 1.
While 50,000 farmers was the original target membership for GLAS, such a level would not draw down all the allocated funds, since the maximum available payment under the scheme is €5,000 per farmer but the average payment secured is just €4,300.
The total pay-out to farmers under GLAS if 50,000 members received €4,300 per year would be €215m - €35m shy of the €250m allocated annually for the scheme.