Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced that payments to date under the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) have exceeded the €1bn mark.

GLAS farmers receive up to €5,000 per annum under the general scheme with provision for payment up to €7,000 where the farmer is positioned to give exceptional environmental returns.

Almost 3,400 participants qualify for the GLAS PLUS extra payment.

GLAS has also provided a knowledge resource to Irish farmers with training undertaken by all participants.

Since the launch of GLAS in 2015, the scheme has been embraced by Irish farmers with almost 50,000 GLAS contracts currently active. GLAS delivers for Irish agriculture and the environment by supporting over 30 actions designed to benefit biodiversity, climate change mitigation and improve water quality.

Under GLAS, farmers carry out many key environmental measures including:

  • Managing over 250,000ha of low-input permanent pasture and over 60,000ha of traditional hay meadows.
  • Supporting the management and grazing of over 228,000ha of commonage.
  • Protecting rare breed populations, bird, bees, and bat habits.
  • They also protect the quality of over 14,000km of watercourses.
  • Minister McConalogue commented: “GLAS has been a two-fold success. It has helped Irish farmers produce in an efficient and sustainable manner while supporting incomes and it has also protecting and enhancing our biodiversity.

    “Our experience will help us build for the future and help us identify what value we can bring to our next national agri-environmental scheme.

    “The development of the new CAP is an exciting opportunity to build on this success and to deliver on new and challenging targets.

    “I am committed to bringing and even more ambitious agri-environmental scheme that will support our farmers and protect our environment,” he said.