Planners’ fury over Department text message to farmers
Angry planners believe the Department of Agriculture has attempted to lay the blame for delays to GLAS payments at their doors.
Advisors stated the Department online system for submitting nutrient management plans (NMPs) has only gone live in the last few weeks after it was hit by computer glitches.
However, they have reacted with anger after the Department sent out a text asking: “Has your GLAS advisor sent in your nutrient management plan? If not, they must do so for your balancing payment to issue shortly.”
Over 22,000 GLAS applicants are awaiting the last 15pc of their payments as NMPs have not been submitted.
“I think it is totally and absolutely wrong for the Department of Agriculture to send out a text to farmers effectively blaming their agriculture consultant for their failure to receive their 15pc payment,” said Carlow-based consultant Pat Minnock.
“We have been waiting patiently for the facility to submit this for over two years and it has only gone live in the last few weeks. Once it went live, the Department have moved to push the blame on to us.”
Mr Minnock said the NMPs are also not fit for purpose at this stage.
“This is mid-June. The NMP was needed for early spring to plan, not now when all fertilisers have been applied. We must also pay Teagasc for this service even though we had to use our own system for all the actual NMP.”
Just 13,000 applicants for GLAS 1 and GLAS 2 submitted NMPs by the June 15 deadline. These applicants are now in line to be paid the final 15pc tranche by the end of the month.
Remaining applicants were once again urged to get their planners to submit the relevant NMPs as soon as possible so that payment can be made by the end of July.
It is estimated that around €700 per applicant, or close to €15m in total GLAS payments, is being held up due to the NMPs.
Over the last fortnight, the ICMSA’s Pat Rohan has urged farmers awaiting overdue GLAS monies to contact their planner immediately to ensure that any information needed for NMPs was provided to the Department.
Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture GLAS inspections are due to kick off next week.
Up to 5pc, or around 1,800 of the 37,000 farmers in the scheme, will be subject to inspection.
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