This week, the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney launched the second tranche of GLAS, the new agri-environmental scheme which replaces REPS and AEOS.
The first tranche of GLAS, which closed on May 26 this year, attracted almost 27,000 applications.
The second tranche will increase this to at least 35,000 and up to 40,000.
The overall target for GLAS is to attract 50,000 farmers into the new scheme over its lifetime and Minister Coveney commented that it was clear that GLAS was well on its way to meeting that target.
Actions: Minimum/ Maximum Units, Completion deadlines and Payment Rate
The Minister has come in for significant criticism after it was revealed that the second tranche would not include some of the most popular measures of the first tranche of GLAS.Also Read: Everything You Need To Know About GLAS
The Minister said on the basis of the 27,000 GLAS plans submitted to date, Ireland has already met or exceeded RDP targets for Low Input Permanent Pasture, Protection of Watercourses, Laying Hedgerows, Planting New Hedgerows, Planting of Traditional Orchards, Bird, Bee and Bat Habitats, Wild Bird Cover and Stone Wall Maintenance.
He said for the second tranche of GLAS, a number of adjustments to the available actions are being made.
According to the Department some, such as those to protect farmland birds and Natura land, will make it easier for farmers to adapt to the new regimes required, and will encourage even greater uptake of these measures.
However, others respond to the fact that Ireland has achieved or exceeded targets in some areas such as Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP), new hedgerows and traditional orchards, according to the Department.