GLAS to reopen for applications before the year ends

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle, has confirmed that the third tranche of GLAS will reopen for applications before the year ends.

The Wicklow-based TD spoke at the Macra na Feirme National Rally, where he said the Department is  currently in the process of finalising the details of the scheme.

But, he assured the young farmers in attendance that the scheme would reopen in the imminent future.

It is understood that the third tranche of GLAS will see changes for tillage farmers, while a number of other minor action changes are understood to be up for consideration.

The Department has plans for 50,000 farmers to participate in GLAS, he said, and there are currently 38,000 Irish farmers carrying out varying environmental actions under the scheme.

Official figures show that over that 26,500 farmers participated in GLAS 1, while an additional 11,500 farmers entered into the second tranche of the scheme.

Taking these numbers into account, in the region of 12,000 farmers are likely to be accepted into the final tranche.

Genomics reopening also on the cards

Along with the reopening of GLAS, the Minister also confirmed that the Department remains committed to reopening the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) before the end of 2016.

And he added, that although there is some cost associated to farmers with the Genomics scheme, it is beneficial in the long term.

However, despite the Department’s intention to open the Genomics scheme this year, a number of farmers who entered the programme prior to the June 2015 closing date have chosen to withdraw from the scheme.

Approximately 5,700 farmers have withdrawn from the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, according to figures from the Department of Agriculture.

Just under 30,000 farmers applied to join the Genomics Programme by the June 5, 2015 closing date.

To date, 24,000 farmers have received approximately €44m in respect of their 2015 payment with the Department finalising the last remaining 2015 query cases in advance of the 2016 payments.