The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine has no plans to extend the closing date for GLAS 3 applications past December 15, it has confirmed.

It was announced earlier this year that GLAS 3 would have space for 12,000 farmers, but the most up-to-date figures show that some 15,900 applications have already been made.

On the number of applications that will be accepted into tranche 3 of the Green Low-carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), the Department has said it will not decide on the number until the scheme has closed.

It is anticipated that approval letters, informing farmers of their acceptance into the scheme, will issue before the end of January 2017 for approval into the scheme with effect from January, 1, 2017.

The number of accepted applications will be based on the available funding for the scheme, it said.

For farmers who have yet to submit a GLAS 3 application, the Department, as previously indicated, would urge all applicants to select the higher priority actions and assets which would promote their application to a higher tier.

This, in turn, would improve their chances of selection into the scheme, but based on the GLAS 3 plans already submitted, almost 95% are either Tier 1 or 2.

Meanwhile, the continuing delays in GLAS payments are throwing farm finances into chaos and represent a clear breach of the terms of the Farmers’ Charter of Rights, according to Patrick Rohan of the ICMSA.

Speaking last week, he said that GLAS farmers were banking on the payment due in late October/early November.

“The terms of the Farmers’ Charter of Rights states ‘payment of up to 75% will commence the third week of October and payment of 25% balance to commence when all inspections are completed, normally mid-December’.

“GLAS farmers were banking on the payment being made punctually so as the relieve the pressure being experienced in terms of cash-flow after what all commentators agree has been nearly two years of unprecedented income pressures and challenges.”

Rohan said that 2016 represents the first full year payment on the scheme which many GLAS farmers had applied for as far back as May 2015.