The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) is calling for an extension to today’s (Friday, December 12) contract deadline for the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).

The call comes on the back of reports from some of its members who claimed they have experienced issues with the text-messaging service that facilitates their continued participation in the scheme.

According to the ICSA, some farmers reported that, despite responding to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM’s) initial text message about continuing with the scheme, they discovered that the DAFM had no record of the communication.

Agriland contacted the DAFM for an update and awaits a response.

ICSA rural development chair, Tim Farrell said they are seeking an extension from the DAFM to the deadline for GLAS 1, 2 and 3 participants for their contracts to roll over into 2022.

This is a new way of communicating with the DAFM for many, he said, and some flexibility will need to be shown.

“Participants were called upon to respond via text message indicating if they wished to carry on with the scheme,” he explained.

However, he said, the ICSA understands that some text responses did not get through to the DAFM.

“We need the deadline to be extended so that these glitches can be ironed out,” he said.

“The difficulty has only come to light because some participants who have replied to the DAFM’s text, and presumed those texts were delivered, have subsequently been advised that no communication from them has been received.”

But, he said that only when participants receive a text reply back from the DAFM can they be sure that their text had delivered.

Farrell said hit is not clear how many farmers have been affected but added that nobody should be excluded from the scheme through no fault of their own.