GLAS to open in early October (competition for places likely to be fierce)

The second tranche of GLAS is expected to open for applications in early October, 2015, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The Department is currently ranking and validating the applications of some 26,000 farmers who applied to GLAS Tranche I before the May 26 deadline.

The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has previously said that GLAS contracts will commence for those in the first tranche from October 1 with an estimated expenditure of €20m this year.

For those who failed to get their application in for the May 22 deadline, the Minister had also said the Department was planning to reopen GLAS again for submissions in the autumn, with an October opening now looking likely.

According to the Minister, at the time farmers in the second tranche will formally be in GLAS for January 1. By next year the Department hope to have about 35,000 farmers in GLAS.

With only 10,000 places set to be made available in the second Trache competition for places is set to be fierce. Furthermore, it is expected that a significant proportion of the places in the tranche will be reserved for commonage farmers.

Consequently, it is likely that many farmers with the lowest Tier 3 qualifying standard may struggle to gain entry under the third tranche. Tier 3 farmers accounted for some 33% of applications under Tranche I.

Last February Minister Coveney opened the new €1.4bn agri-environment scheme GLAS allowing a standard ‘package’ of up to € 5,000 for eligible farmers per annum, with an additional package of €2,000 per annum for those in GLAS+, in return for exceptional environmental commitment.

The Minister said he believes the Scheme will deliver enormous dividends to rural Ireland, to the 30,000 Irish farmers the Department hopes to see join GLAS in its first phase, and to the 20,000 more who will join in subsequent years.