Farmers will only be paid up to a maximum of 75% of the GLAS payment in year one, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney.

Responding to a parliamentary question this week, he said it should be clearly understood that payments in respect of 2015 will be in respect of a part-year only, with a maximum first instalment of 75% of whatever is due payable next year.

“This is the usual approach taken in the introduction of all new agri-environment schemes. However, I should also point out that all farmers joining GLAS in 2015 will go on to receive an additional five years of full payment from 2016 on.”

Any payments made for 2015 will be over-and-above what would usually be payable over the standard five year contract.

Minister Coveney said in his contribution to the Budget debate, that he is providing for up to 30,000 farmers to join GLAS next year, with an allocation of €20 million indicated for 2015. The maximum payment available per annum is €5,000.

“As this is a voluntary scheme, driven by the actions selected by the applicants themselves, it is not possible to say in advance whether all farmers will draw down the maximum amount.”