GLAS extension ‘essential’ under CAP transitional arrangements

Calls have been made for the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to “secure the extension of the Green, Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) for the 36,000 farmers whose contracts expire at the end of the year”.

Commenting on the issue, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) national rural development chairman Joe Brady said: “Proposed draft regulations to extend the current CAP until January 1, 2022, means that agri-environmental schemes must also be extended.

“Otherwise, farmers in GLAS will be at a significant financial loss next year.”

Brady explained that at a recent meeting with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the IFA emphasised the need for such an extension and was told by officials that it was possible.

The same can also apply to the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS), the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) and the Knowledge Transfer (KT) programme.

The IFA’s rural development chairman also urged the minister to reopen GLAS for young farmers and new entrants who have commenced farming since the scheme closed in 2016.

“There is scope in the 2014–2020 Rural Development Programme for this as it provides for 50,000 farmers in the scheme [currently there are 48,500 farmers participating].

The remaining places should be offered to new entrants under the same conditions as the existing scheme.

Joe Brady also pointed out that farmers with Natura land who are not in GLAS or a locally led scheme have no compensation scheme available to them.

Farmers who were in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) – but not GLAS – should also be allowed into a reopened GLAS scheme, Brady suggested.

In relation to 2019 GLAS payments, the department indicated that 45,500 farmers have received their 85% advance payment worth €163 million.

Concluding, Brady outlined: “The IFA is calling for all outstanding payments, including the 15% balancing payment, to be made without delay. €41 million is due to GLAS farmers in respect of the 2019 scheme.”