Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 4 December 2016

GLAS scheme opens again - room for 12,000 more farmers

Published 02/11/2016 | 18:37

For the third and final tranche of GLAS, a small number of adjustments are being made to the actions available under the second tranche.
For the third and final tranche of GLAS, a small number of adjustments are being made to the actions available under the second tranche.

The third tranche of GLAS has been opened to farmers by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

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The first two tranches of GLAS, proved to be a major success, according to the Minister with a total of 38,000 participants approved into the scheme to date – a record number of entrants to any agri-environment scheme in a single year.

The overall target for GLAS is to attract at least 50,000 farmers into the scheme over its lifetime and Minister Creed commented that it was clear that GLAS was well on its way to meeting that target.

For the third and final tranche of GLAS, a small number of adjustments are being made to the actions available under the second tranche.

Some, will make it easier for farmers to adapt to the new regimes required, and will encourage greater uptake of measures.  Others respond to the fact that we have achieved or exceeded targets in some areas.

“GLAS is a target-driven environmental scheme and from tranche-to-tranche we are required to adjust the menu of options available to ensure we meet the targets set for the full programme period.

“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.

“Our top priority remains to attract farmers with Tier One Environmental Assets, like endangered birds, Natura habitat, commonage land and high-status watercourses,” Minister Creed said. 

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Applications

Farmers are being urged by the Department of Agriculture to present the highest standard environmental plans under GLAS 3 and to adopt actions that would promote them to 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 announced that the Terms and Conditions for the third Tranche of GLAS, along with the detailed Specification for Tranche 3 actions will be published immediately. 

He asked farmers and their advisors to read these carefully.  The live online system for applications will be opened this week and will remain open for six weeks.

In relation to the first two tranches of GLAS, some of the headline outcomes were as follows:

-         243,000 ha of permanent pasture will be conserved

-         12,000 km of water courses will be protected

-         75, 000 ha of endangered bird habitat will be brought under sustainable management

-         Commonage Management Plans will be prepared for over 75% of commonages.

-       13,000 ha of wild bird cover will be planted, providing up to 19,000 tonnes of winter feed for wild birds.

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