One in five applying for GLAS through Teagasc may miss deadline
Teagasc has written to 1,700 farmers using its joint planning service with FRS to warn them that their GLAS applications may not be complete by 22 May.

In a letter sent on Wednesday, Teagasc warned around 1,700 farmers that they could miss out on months of GLAS payments because of the backlog in setting them up on the department's website.

"For various reasons your application was in the last 20% of applicants to be set up on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's planning system and because of this, it may not be possible to process your application before the closing date of May 22nd for Tranche 1," the letter reads.

Teagasc's head of advisory services Dermot McCarthy, who signed the letter, told the Irish Farmers Journal that of the 11,500 who requested assistance from Teagasc and its partner Farm Relief Services (FRS) to plan and register their GLAS application, around 9,500 were expected to go ahead with their application - but only four in five of those would be registered in time with the the department.

"We have been working 100% flat out, but we couldn't overcome the technical glitches in time in terms of setting people up on the department's GLAS system," McCarthy said.

All farmers who received the letter may not miss the deadline - "it depends on the number of dropouts, on how well the computer system works and whether there is an extension," McCarthy added.

Teagasc: deadline should be pushed back

Teagasc has been asking the department to push back the 22 May deadline. The letter sent to farmers states that it would take the agency "another couple of weeks" to register all its clients.

While the Teagasc/FRS GLAS advisory service has been working on a first-come, first-served basis, even early applicants are likely to be among those who miss out on Tranche 1 because the backlog has been building up at the stage when applications are complete and ready to set up on the department's website.

In its letter, Teagasc offers two options to farmers affected by the backlog: either go through a private planner - while warning that they, too, "are having difficulties in completing plans"; or wait until Tranche 2 of GLAS in the autumn, when "Teagasc will give first priority" to those who missed the Tranche 1 deadline.

"We don't expect major changes then - it will essentially be the same scheme," McCarthy said.

'Everything was falling apart' - farmers dealing with depression
The Macra event is being aimed at young people to encourage them to talk about their mental health.

Young farmers were urged at a Macra event to open up about their feelings and take care of their mental health.

The event was part of a series of talks organised by Jonathan Dwyer and John Keane, two north Tipperary Macra na Feirme members in conjunction with Healthy Ireland as part of an initiative called “Make a Moove”, aimed at helping young men in rural areas discuss mental health issues.

Addressing a crowd of 40 young people at Rackett Hall in Roscrea, Bill, shared his story with the crowd.

“I grew up in a dairy farm just outside Nenagh, there was nothing in me that would have ever shouted that I’d have any problems.

“One of the happiest days I ever had was when I got accepted in veterinary college in Budapest when I was 18.

Everything was falling apart in my own mind

“Unfortunately it was pretty soon after that that things started to derail for me. I moved to Hungary at 18 and I can’t explain it but the fun seemed to drip out of everything.

“Inwardly for seven years I was crumbling inside. Everything was falling apart in my own mind”

“I came back from Budapest and went to New Zealand for a while, I had a great time but still I wasn’t right.

“I went back helping on the farm, one day my father and I had very strong words and my mother took him away to cool down.

“When they left I walked out and went to Dublin.

“I didn’t realise that when my parents came back they thought the worst and apparently my father walked the farm looking for me because he thought that I’d done something.

“But I was in a very dark place for three months, I actually remember standing in CopperFace Jacks with no phone but internet connection where I was looking at places to check myself in.”

He told the group that it was soon after that he tried to take his own life.

“One after the other I took the painkillers and drank the bottle of whiskey and got into bed for what I hoped was the last time.

“The worst feeling I actually had was the day after when I woke up, that I’d even managed to fail to do this.

“I spent a couple more days lying in bed and trying to build up the energy to get up. I was thinking about a motorway that was nearby and jumping off it

“Thankfully the guys I was living with somehow got in contact with my parents.”

Going home

His mother and brother came to collect him from the house and brought him home.

Bill said that when he seriously thought about why he was depressed he linked it to alcohol, even the attempt he made on his own life had been after a three-day drinking session with friends.

After two years of therapy and working on himself he says he’s learned how to really live at life.

“With hindsight, the pain the drink had caused me was phenomenal,” Bill said.

“It wasn’t easy but the day I stopped drinking was the day my life changed.”

The next talk will be held on Thursday 25 April in the Anner Hotel, Thurles at 7.30pm.

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The farmer's daily wrap: machinery inspections and crunch week for Brexit aid
Check out all the latest news from the day and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

Weather forecast

Thursday will be a dry evening, with hazy sunshine. It will be dry tonight, with clear spells.

Met Éireann predicts that Friday will be another dry day, but some cloud will develop later in the day in the west of the country.

Top temperatures between 16°C and 21°C.

In the news

  • The Health and Safety Authority will begin an intensive farm safety inspection campaign on Tuesday 23 April, with a particular focus on machinery.
  • The next few days will be crucial, after Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed called for a package of support from the European Commission for Irish beef farmers following €100m of Brexit-related losses.
  • The board of Carbery has set its milk price for supplies during the month of March.
  • The Government is considering drastic measures to tackle ammonia pollution.
  • There was a call to end delays and to change legislation immediately at the IFA Fair Deal protest.
    Graphic images: lamb pecked to death by crows
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    Ronan Delaney, a beef and sheep farmer in Co Meath, has warned other farmers to take care after finding one lamb with its eyes and tongue pecked out by crows while being born.

    The farmer said the lamb was attacked as it was being born.

    Delaney discovered the lamb on Wednesday 17 April and later on that day found a sheep with one of her eyes pecked out after she became stuck in a field.

    Ronan Delaney said the ewe was still sore after losing her eye when she was attacked by crows.

    Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, he said that crow attacks on sheep are a common occurrence every year, but it was sickening to see the devastation they wrought.

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