Farm bodies call for swift opening of agri scheme
FARM organisations have called for the speedy opening up of the new agri-environment or GLAS scheme.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney last week announced details of the new Rural Development Plan (RDP) which will provide €4bn for farming over the next seven years, averaging €570m a year between now and 2020.
The biggest swathe of funding – some €1.45bn over seven years – will go to a new Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) which will provide up to €5,000 a year for the estimated 50,000 farmers expected to commit to the agri-environment package.
Top-up payments worth €2,000 a year will be available to farmers who take on challenging environmental actions.
The Government's budgetary constraints will restrict the numbers participating in GLAS next year to between 25,000 and 30,000, but this will increase in subsequent years to the full quota of eligible farmers, said Minister Coveney.
The IFA has insisted that a January 1 starting date must be available for farmers entering the programme. The association claimed that there were no reasons why the programme could not be up and running by that date.
The ICMSA called on Minister Coveney to open up the application process for the schemes this year.
ICMSA president John Comer said it was critical that the detail of the various schemes was known to farmers, many of whom were making "massive financial investments" in preparation for the post-quota era.