Farmers will incur significant financial losses unless Minister Creed secures an extension to GLAS schemes this year, according to the IFA.

IFA rural development chair Joe Brady said Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must secure the extension of both GLAS I and GLAS II for the 36,000 farmers whose contracts expire this year.

“Proposed draft regulations to extend the current CAP until 1 January 2022 mean that agri-environmental schemes must also be extended, otherwise farmers in the GLAS scheme will be at a significant financial loss next year. This is unacceptable,” Brady said.

At a recent meeting with the Department of Agriculture, the IFA emphasised the need for such an extension and were told by officials that it was possible. The same can also apply to TAMS, BDGP and the KT programme.

Reopen GLAS

Brady also called on the Minister to reopen GLAS for young farmers and new entrants who have commenced farming since the scheme closed in 2016.

“There is scope in the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme for this, as it provides for 50,000 farmers in the scheme (currently there are 48,500 farmers participating). The remaining places should be offered to new entrants under the same conditions as the existing scheme,” he said.

Brady also pointed out that farmers with natura land who are not in GLAS or a locally-led scheme have no compensation scheme available to them.

Farmers who were in AEOS (but not GLAS) should also be allowed into a reopened GLAS scheme.

GLAS payments

Some 45,500 farmers have received 85% advance payment of their 2019 GLAS payment, amounting to €163m. The IFA has called for the remaining €41m of 2019 payments to be made without delay.