Why farmers will only be getting 85% of their GLAS payments in the coming weeks
The EU regulations governing GLAS only allow for up to 85% of the GLAS payment to issue as a first instalment once all administrative checks have been completed.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the balancing 15% may issue only after all the required on-the-spot checks have been initiated.
Inspections will be carried out on 5% of applicants to check compliance with requirements. These inspections will be unannounced.
The first two tranches of GLAS resulted in almost 38,000 farmers being approved into the scheme in its first year of implementation, some 26,300 in GLAS 1 and 11,700 in GLAS 2.
The first full year of GLAS 1 and GLAS 2 contract payments are due in 2016 and the prepayment checking process is currently under way for both schemes with a view to commencing payment before the end of 2016.
The Department has recognised that some payments for 2015 have yet to be completed but it says it must also be recognised that in the first year of the GLAS Scheme over 95% of GLAS farmers due a 2015 payment have received up to 85% of this payment.
"This has represented a significant commitment in terms of resources, including IT development resources, within the Department and when viewed in the context of the Department also rolling out the new Basic Payment Scheme and a number of other schemes as part of the new Rural Development Programme such as TAMS II, Beef Genomics, Knowledge Transfer Schemes, it represents a significant amount of work.
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said officials in his Department are working on all outstanding 2015 part year payments, on a case by case basis with the intention of processing payments which meet all required regulatory requirements as soon as possible.
In addition to processing the remaining 2015 part year payments, he said officials are also developing the systems to support the third tranche of GLAS and systems to support 2016 GLAS payments for GLAS 1 and GLAS 2, which are the first full year payments under the Scheme.
These 2016 payments will begin issuing before the end of the year for applications which pass all the required regulatory checks.
GLAS offers a maximum payment of €5,000 per year to participants to commit to carrying out a GLAS plan of actions. Some farmers undertaking particularly challenging actions may qualify for GLAS+ which provides a top-up payment of up to €2,000 per year.
Farmers must commit to a GLAS plan for a minimum of five years.
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