GLAS payments could be limited to €3,000 per farmer
Applications for the €1.4bn Green Low Carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS) have started this week, but the small print in the scheme is likely to limit average payments to just €3,000 per farmer, according to agricultural advisers.
"I've just discovered this today that a farmer can't split a parcel in order to carry out different measures on separate field areas," said Galway adviser, Vincent Costello.
He estimates that these restrictions could cost his clients up to €2,000 each, and weaken the appeal of the scheme.
"It's ridiculous that a parcel split last year is no problem, but if you try to do it for the first time this year, you tie yourself up in more restrictions," he said.
Up to 50,000 farmers are expected to apply to the new environmental scheme designed to replace REPS and AEOS, but a maximum of 30,000 are likely to access the scheme this year.
In order to qualify for a part payment in 2015, farmers must get their applications in for the scheme by May 15.
With no more than 500 agri-advisors trained up to administer the scheme, and 67 working days between now and the May deadline, advisors will need to target processing at least one applicant every day in order to meet the timeline involved.
The Government's National Development Plan, which is part-funded by the EU, is still waiting on official endorsement from Brussels.