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Record Numbers join GLAS

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD confirmed today that a further 11,500 farmers will be approved into GLAS 2, the second tranche of the Green Low-carbon Agri-Environment Scheme.  This will bring the total number of farmers in the Scheme to some 38,000 - a record number of entrants to an agri-environment scheme in a single year.

In confirming the completion of his Department’s assessment of Tranche 2 applications the Minister said “The level of interest in the GLAS scheme has been unprecedented with some 38,000 farmers approved into the scheme in the last 4 months alone.  This represents a huge endorsement of the Scheme by Irish farmers and delivers on this Government’s commitment to implementing an accessible agri-environment scheme which recognises the critical role played by Irish farmers in protecting and enhancing our natural resources”.

The Minister confirmed that his Department will be issuing the formal approval letters to successful applicants later this week.  The unprecedented level of applications to the Scheme has meant that for GLAS 2, priority is being given to what are called Tier 1 and Tier 2 candidates, i.e. those who either manage key environmental assets like endangered birds, protected habitats or high-quality water courses, or who have committed to undertake particularly valuable environmental actions like growing feed-crops for wild birds, adopting low-impact tillage techniques or using low-emission slurry spreading methods. 

Farmers had been urged to present the highest standard environmental plans under GLAS 2, and to adopt actions that would promote them to Tier 2 or even Tier 1 status and the Minister said today that he was delighted that so many had opted to do so. The recruitment of over 11,000 new Tier 1 and Tier 2 farmers into GLAS means that at this point in time some 75% of all approved GLAS plans fall into these two categories, ensuring that the funds available under the scheme are being targeted at the area’s most in need and delivering best value-for-money.  

In addition the Minister also confirmed that all GLAS 2 applications from new entrants to farming in 2015, and from new farm partnerships, were also being granted priority access under this round, including applications by Tier 3 candidates. The Minister accepted the argument made by the various farming organisations that these candidates had been unable to apply under GLAS 1, and were deserving of special consideration.  He said he was happy to accommodate these farmers under this round.

In setting out his future plans for the Scheme the Minister confirmed that a further tranche of the Scheme will be launched in the Autumn, and that those who were unsuccessful this time round were free to apply again, or indeed to upgrade their applications to increase the chances of success.

He concluded, “The progress to date on GLAS leaves me in no doubt that our total target of 50,000 participants will be met in this third tranche of the Scheme later this year.  This new tranche will build on the success of the Scheme to date  will continue to  support Irish farmers who are committed to protecting and nurturing environmentally sensitive areas as part of their farm enterprises.”.

added 28.01.16

 

 

Date Released: 28 January 2016