IFA call to extend GLAS contracts

The IFA is calling on the Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary to start the process of extending GLAS contracts to 36,000 farmers who are due to finish their five-year plans at the end of December.

IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins said it would be totally unacceptable for farmers to be denied environmental payments such as GLAS, as they play a key role in supporting farm income in regions and enterprises where there is a high dependency on direct supports.

Mr Biggins said recent comments by Minister Calleary — where he focused on a new REPS type scheme, rather than the existing GLAS scheme — is worrying for farmers who expect their GLAS contract to be extended under EU CAP transitional arrangements.

The IFA Rural Development Chairman pointed out that in IFA’s 2021 pre-Budget submission, a strong case is being made for an allocation of €230m for agri-environmental schemes to cover all GLAS contracts and locally-led schemes for next year.

Meanwhile, in relation to the new REPS-type scheme, the IFA is insisting that funding is additional to GLAS and other environmental schemes as promised in the Programme for Government.

The commitment in the Programme is for an allocation of €150m annually, funded from an increased carbon tax. IFA has sought a meeting with the Department of Agriculture on details of the new scheme.