The Friday deadline for GLAS participants to roll over their contracts into next year should be extended, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA).

ICSA rural development chair Tim Farrell made the call following a number of “text glitches” which he says farmers are experiencing.

“Participants were called upon to respond via text message indicating if they wished to carry on with the scheme.

“However, [the] ICSA understands that some text responses are not getting through to the Department [of Agriculture] if they are sent using some of the smaller mobile networks."

He said the deadline must be extended so that these glitches can be ironed out.

No communication

Farrell said the recent difficulty has only come to light because some participants who have replied to the Department’s text, and presumed those texts were delivered, have subsequently been advised that no communication from them has been received.

“Only when participants receive a text reply from the Department stating 'DAFM: we have received your reply' can you be sure the text has gone through.”

The Roscommon suckler farmer said it is difficult to know how many farmers have been affected by this, but that no one should miss out on continuing with GLAS through no fault of their own.

“This is a new way of communicating with the Department for many and some flexibility will need to be shown.”

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