Soil Science is a must for those considering employment as a planner under the new GLAS scheme.

According to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney in order to ensure that advisors meet the requirements outlined above, the Department requires that all advisors must have attained a FETAC Level 8 Bachelor Degree in Agricultural Science/Land Management in Agriculture and must have taken soil science and an animal or crop production subject to a level 8 degree standard.

EU Regulations governing the Direct Payment Schemes requires the Department of Agriculture to operate a Farm Advisory System (FAS) to provide advice to farmers on a range of issues relating to land and farm management.

According to the Minister, the regulations require that advisors are suitably qualified and regularly trained.

“In addition, in order to be approved as a GLAS Advisor, an advisor must also be an approved FAS advisor.

“In determining the level of educational qualifications required to be a FAS/GLAS advisor, my Department must ensure that such qualifications are of an appropriate standard to meet the objectives and the requirements of the various schemes, and the associated governing legislation, on which advice is being provided,” he said.

Minister Coveney said advisors must be qualified to interpret soil tests, understand the requirements of all schemes and understand constraints of land management imposed by various land designations.

Furthermore, he said advisors must be in a position to translate this knowledge into detailed management plans and also advice for farmers not only on the schemes requirements but also on their farm operations.

Advisors wishing to become a FAS/GLAS advisor must submit to the Department a copy of their qualifications, including a full transcript, to ensure that the required standard has been attained.