Farm schemes roll over for 2021: How can farmers opt in for extensions?

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has confirmed that farm schemes will roll over in 2021 following the granting of approval from the European Commission to do so.

However, a key question many farmers coming to the end of their scheme contracts will have is: How can they opt in?

Schemes which have been given the green light to continue next year include the: Green Low-Carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS); Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC); Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP); Sheep Welfare and Organic Farming Scheme.

According to Minister McConalogue earlier this evening: “My department will be in contact with farmers shortly about how to opt into schemes for 2021.”

The Department of Agriculture provided a breakdown of how farmers can do this, which is as follows.

GLAS

Farmers with GLAS 1 or 2 contracts which expire on December 31, 2020, will be offered an extension of one year, according to the department.

A letter to each participant is being posted on Monday, December 14, 2020, advising them of their options and how to apply.

There will be two ways in which they may extend their contracts:
  1. By text message: A text message will issue on Wednesday, December 16, to each participant who is registered with the department to receive texts, giving the option to reply ‘DAFM Y’ (for Yes) or ‘DAFM N’ (for No). Participants will have 72 hours from receipt of the text message to reply;
  2. By logging on to agfood.ie – to go live on Tuesday, December 15, an application may be submitted via agfood by the participant or an agent authorised to act on his/her behalf in relation to GLAS – the options provided are ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Any queries farmers have can be sent to the GLAS section at [email protected] or to ring: 0761-064451. The losing date for receipt of their response is December 31, 2020.

Organic Farming Scheme

Farmers with Organic Farming Scheme contracts which expire on December 31, 2020, will be offered an extension of one year.

A letter to each participant issued yesterday (Thursday, December 10), expected to arrive over next few days, advising them of their options and how to apply, according to the department.

There will be three ways in which they can extend their contracts:
  1. By text message: A text message will issue on Monday, December 14, to each participant registered with the Department to receive texts, with the option to reply ‘DAFM Y’ (for Yes) or ‘DAFM N’ (for No). Participant will have 72 hours from receipt of the text message to reply;
  2. By email to [email protected] advising that they wish to apply for an extension to their Organic Farming Scheme contract; or
  3. By registered post to Organic Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford, Y35 PN52.

Any queries can be communicated to the Organic Unit at: 0761-064451. The closing date for receipt of their response is December 31, 2020.

BDGP

Letters will issue to the relevant farmers from week beginning December 14, offering them the opportunity to apply for a further year in BDGP.

Farmers will be able to apply by logging in to agfood.ie, or by replying to a text that will issue from the department if they are registered to receive texts.

The application process will be open from December 14, 2020, to January 15, 2021, and the relevant information will be included in the letters issuing to farmers next week.

ANC

Applications for ANC in 2021 will be handled alongside the 2021 BPS applications, the same as in previous years.

The closing date is expected to be in mid May 2021, the department says.

Sheep Welfare Scheme

Applications for the Sheep Welfare Scheme in 2021 will be done in the same way as in previous years.

The department will be writing to participants shortly with more details, the authority concluded.