GLAS is expected to reopen around mid-November and it will remain open for six weeks, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has said.
The Minister made the announcement yesterday at the Department of Agriculture, where he outlined further details of Budget 2017 for the farming sector.
Last month it was reported that GLAS was to reopen in October, however it now appears that the reopening of the scheme has now been pushed back to mid-November.
Funding for GLAS, the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme, is to increase to €211m and the Minister expects 12,000 more participants to apply. In total, there is expected to be 50,000 participants in the scheme next year.
GLAS falls under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) and overall, for 2017, Minister Creed is allocating €601m for investment in the programme, which is up from €494m in 2016.
€25m Sheep Scheme
The RDP funding will also allow for the the introduction of the highly anticipated €25m sheep welfare scheme, which the Minister expects will be open for farmers to apply to in early 2017, this is despite the Department still awaiting the European Commission’s approval of the scheme.
Minister Creed has said that there will be a menu of options in the scheme that will reflect the different management practices associated with either lowland or hill sheep farming. Farmers will be subject to checks to ensure they are eligible for the scheme.
It is understood an across-the-board payment in the region of €10/ewe will be made to all those involved in the scheme.
A total of €601m has been allocated for the Rural Development Programme in 2017:
- €241.7m for agri-environmental schemes (Including AEOS/GLAS/ REPS Organics).
- €202m for Areas of Natural Constraint.
- €52m for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme.
- €50m for Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS).
- €25.6m for Knowledge Transfer Programme.
- €25m for the Animal Welfare Scheme for Sheep.