IFA Hill Committee Chairman Pat Dunne wants Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to implement GLAS in commonage areas immediately, now that the first phase of the scheme is closed and with commonage plans due to commence shortly.
Mr Dunne said that more than 4,000 farmers having applied for the GLAS scheme and with over 2,700 on commonages, it is clear that there are still many farmers who will want to join the scheme but are concerned about the criteria and terms being imposed by the Department of Agriculture.
In some circumstances where planners may not be in the best position to carry out commonage plans, the Department of Agriculture need to appoint and pay for planners who are able to carry out plans in such areas.
With relation to the min/max level of stocking in these areas, the time period for this to be achieved must be looked at in commonages where there is not enough interest in the GLAS scheme. Every farmer is different and no individual farmer should be required to reach a level of stocking that is unsustainable and impractical.
There needs to be a publication of the guidelines to planners so they can carry out commonage management plans for all the 4,000 farmers who joined the first phase of GLAS. These guidelines must be flexible and in a simple format.
The period of time that was allocated to carry out the plans, which is set for the end of August needs to be extended. The 4,000 farmers who have applied for the GLAS scheme, must get a substantial part payment for 2015 later in the year.
Farmers who did not join the first phase of GLAS are now considering entering into the scheme when it reopens in the autumn, when the CMP’s are completed. Most farmers are now better off waiting until the autumn so they can maximise their payments.