Issues over farmersâ€™ participation in the new Glas Scheme have been addressed by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) this week.
Andrew McHugh, County Longford IFA Chairman, expressed concern over Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveneyâ€™s proposals on GLAS which, he believes, could result in some farmers experiencing difficulties in joining the scheme.
â€œSome farmers may not have the priority environmental assets which qualify them for Tier One in the scheme,â€ Mr McHugh added.
â€œIt is imperative the Minister does not turn down anybody who makes a valid application for the scheme.
â€œThis is crucial as many farmers are very dependent on the agri-environment schemes. With up to 30,000 farmers exiting REPS 4 between the end of 2013 and 2014 many of them must have a meaningful scheme available to them.â€
Mr McHugh went on to say that the priority for the Minister now, was to open the scheme without delay so that sufficient time was provided to both farmers and their planners so they could make their applications before the closing date in March 2015.
â€œFollowing on from this, plans must commence so that the payment period for 2015 is much longer than the Ministerâ€™s current suggestion of three months,â€ the local IFA chief continued.
â€œThis short time period proposed by the Minister will be rejected by farmers and will question his commitment to low income farmers.â€
Last week, MEP Marian Harkin said the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine was â€œdeliberatelyâ€ making the terms and conditions of Glas, impossible for farmers to participate in.
Speaking from Brussels she added, â€œThe Department is unnecessarily imposing conditions on the participation of hill and commonage farmers in the new EU supported GLAS Schemeâ€.