Up to €5m in organic payments to issue
Minister Andrew Doyle has announced that organic payments will commence this week.

Up to €5m in payments is to be issued to 1,100 organic farmers this month.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Andrew Doyle said he was “pleased to announce” that advance payments were due to issue from Friday 7 December.

Last year, a number of delays dogged organic payments and farmers will be relieved to receive payments on time after a tough 2018.

“I am delighted that we have met our commitment to commence these payments in December and at a rate far in excess of last year,” Minister Doyle said.

The scheme is one of our key drivers

“The scheme is one of our key drivers in increasing Irish organic output, which will help us exploit the vast market opportunities internationally for this product.”

Minister Doyle added that the latest figures indicated that there were now some 72,000ha under organic production in Ireland, an increase of almost 50% since 2014.

He also announced that additional investment items had been included for grant aid under the Organic Capital Investment Scheme.

For more information or to apply, click here.

New investment items include:

  • Mower - mounted without conditioner.
  • Mower - mounted with conditioner.
  • Mower - trailed (with /without conditioner.
  • Mulcher mounted.
  • Mulcher /mower self-driven.
  • Straw chopper (mounted).
  • Straw chopper (trailed).
  • Haybob (combination of both raking and tedding).
  • Forage rakes.
  • Forage tedders.
  • Spring tine grass harrow.
  • Chain harrow.
  • Inter-row cultivators.
  • Flame weeder.
  • Brush weeder.
  • Rotary cultivator weeder.
  • Combcut weeder.
  • Read more

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    Farm finance: BPS payments update
    There are almost 2,000 farmers waiting on BPS payments who are deemed eligible for payment.

    As of 7 December, 120,910 farmers received their BPS payments. This leaves 1,837 of “eligible” participants to be paid. According to the Department, the main issues delaying payments for “ineligible” applicants include dual claims, over-claims and no herd number applications.

    Organic Farming Scheme deadline looms
    The deadline for applications to the Organic Farming Scheme is next Wednesday.

    The closing date for applications to the Organic Farming Scheme is 19 December 2018. The scheme opened for applications in late November.

    All applicants must reach a minimum ranking of 25 marks to be deemed eligible for consideration for inclusion in the scheme.

    The ranking favours horticulture, cereals and dairy because these areas were found to be in deficit. Under the scheme guidelines, farmers enter for a minimum of five years and receive up to €220/ha per year during the conversion period and up to €170/ha when they have achieved full organic status. Applications for the scheme must be made online and there is no requirement to use an agricultural adviser to make the application.

    Copies of the Organic Farming Scheme terms and conditions are available on the Department’s organics page here.

    Farm finance: IFJ analysis shows 17% still await GLAS payment
    The Department's track record on 2018 GLAS payments is not quite as impressive when the numbers are broken down, writes Peter Varley.

    The Department issued an update on GLAS payments last week, boasting that 96% of “eligible” farmers received an advance payment.

    According to the update, 21,282 participants in GLAS I have received €75.5m, a total of €32.7m has been paid to 9,239 farmers in GLAS II and a further €35.7m has been issued to 10,320 applicants in GLAS III.

    This means 40,841 participants received 2018 advance payments. This, the Department says, equates to 96% of all eligible GLAS participants.

    However, where it gets confusing is when you compare the figures to 2017 payments.

    In November of this year, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed broke down the 2017 GLAS payment figures.

    He said there were 49,198 cases in total, 48,623 of which received advance payments and 43,763 received balancing payments.

    So when the Department says 96% of all “eligible” GLAS participants received their payment for 2018, this would suggest that the total number to receive advance payments is in the region of 42,475 participants in 2018.

    However, the Irish Farmers Journal understands there are over 49,000 farmers participating in GLAS in 2018. If this figure is correct, just 83% of participating farmers have received an advance payment so far.

    The question is, what has happened to 6,562 participants and their advance payments for 2018? Are all these cases ineligible for payment?

    We know a small number have to submit info to the Department, but not over 6,000 participants, not to mention the farmers still waiting on 2017 advance and balancing payments.

    IFA rural development committee chair Joe Brady urged the Department to sort out any outstanding cases from last year and to pay all 2018 payments due without delay. “GLAS is a valuable scheme for farmers, given the difficult year they have gone through,” he said.

    Warning

    This week, the Department issued a warning that there are 800 outstanding nutrient management plans (NMP) to be submitted by planners for their clients. There are also just less than 200 farmers in GLAS I and II who have to complete a training course before the end of the year.

    According to a Department spokesperson, if both requirements are not completed, participants face “rejection from GLAS and claw-back of all GLAS payments made to date”.