Farmers will not tolerate delays to their GLAS payments for 2017, and expect the problems encountered in the 2016 payment year not to be repeated.

This was the message the IFA’s (Irish Farmers’ Association’s) Rural Development Chairman, Joe Brady, had for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at a meeting this week.

At the meeting, Brady said farmers in GLAS (Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme) have already incurred significant costs of compliance and have paid planning fees; they need payments to be made on time to avoid serious cash flow problems.

GLAS payments for 2017 are worth €220 million, and are due to be issued to 50,000 farmers.

At the meeting this week, the department reportedly informed the IFA that GLAS payments will commence in November. The farm organisation insisted that all farmers must be paid swiftly.

In addition, the IFA has sought an increase to 85% in the advance payment made in November.

Submission of NMPs

However, in order for GLAS payments to be issued on time, the department has continually reminded farmers to ensure their Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) is submitted.

The department has reminded GLAS I and GLAS II participants that their NMP must be submitted by their advisor before further payments can be issued.

With regards to delayed payments, the department allegedly informed the IFA that GLAS payments for 2016 to 850 farmers are currently held up for various reasons.

In response to this, the IFA has stressed that all of these farmers must be paid without delay and any issue holding up payment must be resolved.

With regard to the final 15% payment for 2016, 11,000 farmers are still awaiting payment, according to the organisation. The main reason they have not yet been paid is because their NMP has not yet been submitted.

The IFA urges such farmers to contact their planners to ensure the plan is submitted without delay. Failure to submit the plan will not only hold up the final 15% payment from, but it will also delay 2017 payments.

In relation to commonages, at the meeting with the department, the IFA’s National Hill Farming Committee Chairman, Pat Dunne, highlighted the need for GLAS in commonages to run smoothly.

Commonage Management Plans must be submitted before the end of October and, with 9,000 commonage farmers in GLAS, Dunne urged planners to complete the plans immediately.