Nearly 11,000 Nutrient Management Plans yet to be submitted

Close to 11,000 Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs) have yet to be submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The department and the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, have continuously reminded farmers that their NMPs must be submitted by their advisor before further payments can be issued under the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).

In the latest figures released by Minister Creed in a recent response to a parliamentary question, a total of 10,888 active GLAS I and GLAS II participants have yet to fully submit their NMP to the department.

Some 25,820 NMPs have already been submitted to the department to date, Minister Creed confirmed. This means that just shy of 30% of GLAS I and GLAS II participants’ NMPs are still outstanding.

Figures show that GLAS II participants are the worst offenders, with 38% – or 4,313 – of these participants failing to submit their NMPs. Meanwhile, about 25% of GLAS I participants have failed to ensure that their NMPs have been submitted.

Recently the department revealed that close to €3.2 million in GLAS payments were issued to farmers during the month of August.

That run of payments would have brought the total amount paid out to farmers under the scheme to €144 million, in respect of 2016 actions.

Minister Creed has previously explained that the department will continue to make balancing payments to eligible participants on a weekly basis.

Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Rural Development Chairman, Joe Brady, recently said that farmers will not tolerate delays to their GLAS payments for 2017 and that they expect the problems encountered in the 2016 payment year not to be repeated.

GLAS payments for 2017 are worth €220 million, the IFA claimed, and are due to be issued to 50,000 farmers. It is understood that they will begin to issue to farmers in November.

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

Speaking at a recent event, Minister Creed was confident that GLAS payments would be issued “seamlessly” this year.

We haven’t hidden from the fact that we had initial difficulties in that area.

“I’m confident that those difficulties have now been resolved and I’m confident that when we press the pay button – in respect of the next payment of GLAS – that we will have a seamless issuing of payments,” Minister Creed said.