Thousands of farmers left without GLAS planners 3 weeks from deadline

Approximately 2,000 farmers hoping to apply for GLAS though the Teagasc/FRS partnership have been left without planners three weeks from the deadline.

Teagasc/FRS attempts to deal with GLAS have reached saturation and approximately 2,000 farmers have received letters from Teagasc suggesting they either look for a private planner to create and submit their GLAS or delay applying.

With private consultants already under immense pressure with their own clients GLAS applications as well as the Basic Payment Scheme the opportunities for such farmers look bleak.

With the May 22 deadline fast approaching for Tranche 1 of GLAS, Teagasc has told farmers that their other option is to hold off applying and wait for Tranche 2 which will also open this autumn but will remain open until the end of the year.

Teagasc has also contacted a number of private agricultural consultants asking for help.

In an email, seen by Agriland, a senior Teagasc staff member has contacted some 30 private consultants, mainly in the south east, stating that Teagasc has received over 1,000 GLAS applications from farmers in the Wexford, Carlow and Wickow that it may be unable to process.

It goes on to ask the private consultants what workload they have over the next three weeks and whether they have the capacity to take on additional GLAS applications.

Meanwhile, Teagasc has confirmed that some 2,000 farmers who applied to Teagasc/FRS to handle their GLAS application have been written to and advised that Teagasc/FRS may not be able to create and submit the plans in time.

A spokesperson for Teagasc/FRS said that the timeframe is the issue and that it is likely that private consultants won’t be able to handle the surplus numbers either.

Teagasc set up a strategic partnership arrangement with the FRS to provide a GLAS planning and support service to Teagasc farmer clients.

The closing date for the first tranche of GLAS is May 22 and the Department of Agriculture has today (Thursday) announced details that the second tranche is to open this autumn. Minister Coveney has said that he hoped 30,000 farmers would apply for and enter the scheme in 2015.

Figures released by the Department, with just over one month to go to the closing date for GLAS, show that just under half of Minister Coveney’s targeted 30,000 GLAS applications had been created on its dedicated online system.

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