IFA President Eddie Downey said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must deliver a GLAS scheme that underpins farmer viability especially in vulnerable sectors and regions.

“Rural Development schemes such as GLAS and TAMS play a critical role in supporting farmers in vulnerable sectors and on farm investment, and their early introduction for the maximum number of applicants is critical.”

Eddie Downey has urged the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to come forward without delay with more details on the GLAS and TAMS schemes and to get approval in Brussels so that the schemes can be opened as soon as possible. He must also now deal with sheep farmer concerns.

“While the process of EU approval of the RDP 2014-2020 has to be gone through, the details of GLAS payment rates and conditions across all measures must now be discussed to ensure that the scheme is workable. Secondly, and more importantly, the schemes have to be attractive for farmers.”

IFA has already set out key demands for GLAS which includes a broad-based scheme encompassing all farmers, a higher payment of €150/ha for Natura land, a specific upland environment management scheme, and a GLAS €2,000 top-up for farmers with higher restrictions. In addition, payment levels for all measures must reflect the full cost of compliance, income foregone and a higher incentive for farmers to participate.

Eddie Downey said GLAS must open in September next with plans commencing from 1st January 2015 and with first year payments being made in the autumn of 2015.

On TAMS, he said the on-farm investment scheme must be available across all sectors of farming and should include farm buildings and slurry storage. Also standard costs must be regularly updated to ensure that farmers get the full 40% grant aid.