Balancing payments under the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) will begin this week, two weeks ahead of schedule, according to Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

€25 million will be issued to some 42,000 farmers in balancing payments; this represents the final 15% of the 2018 payment, and completes the total payment for GLAS actions undertaken last year, according to the department.

The department also highlighted that the payment rate is 50% higher than last year in terms of applicants paid.

I am delighted to be commencing these GLAS balancing payments a fortnight earlier than expected to over 42,000 farmers. This will be a significant cash-flow assistance to those farmers, particularly suckler farmers who are the majority of GLAS participants.

“This payment brings to almost €600 million the total payments made to date in respect of GLAS. This comes on top of over 99% of all eligible GLAS participants already being fully up to date with their payments under the scheme,” said Minister Creed.

“This closes out the payment for actions last year to these participants. Our priority now is to continue to make payments to other applicants as they become eligible and we will continue to make weekly payments,” he added.

However, he also highlighted that there are a “small number of cases” where GLAS 3 applicants have not yet completed the necessary training under the scheme.

Minister Creed encouraged these applicants to fulfill the outstanding training “as quickly as possible”.

GLAS 3 participants must have the required training completed by December 31 this year to remain in the scheme, the department explained.