IRISH FARMERS JOURNAL Saturday 25 February 2017 S
Environment Peter Varley
GLAS payments update and acceptance letters GLAS payments update Last week, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed told the Irish Farmers Journal that there is no deﬁnite end date in sight for those farmers who are owed almost €30m in the ﬁrst 85% tranche of GLAS money. This week, a spokesperson from the Department said there will be a further 950 applicants receiving payment imminently, leaving 6,300 the number of farmers still awaiting payments. GLAS III GLAS III acceptance letters were issued to 12,500 farmers this week. The letters inform farmers that if they wish to withdraw from the scheme, they must do so in writing by 28 February 2017; otherwise, it is taken that the oﬀer is accepted. The commencement date for entry into the scheme is 1 January 2017 and ends 31 December 2021. The Department says accepted farmers will shortly receive an information pack containing an application summary, maps of the actions selected, a copy of the scheme speciﬁcation and a copy of the scheme terms and conditions. Deadlines Farmers entering in the third tranche of GLAS should note the upcoming deadlines to complete actions they selected in their plans. For example, any farmer who selected the wild bird cover action must sow the crop annually by 31 May, according to the Department. Similarly, farmers who chose the protection of water courses from bovine action, or bird, or bat or bee boxes actions, must have the actions completed by 31 May 2017. Hedgecutting and coppicing deadline The deadlines for coppicing and laying of hedgerows for farmers in GLAS I is next Tuesday 28 February 2017. Farmers participating in GLAS II have more time to complete the action, with a deadline of 30 November 2017.
BUSINESS OF FARMING 79
National Reserve 2017: what you need to know DARREN CARTY The Department of Agriculture has conﬁrmed that a €5m National Reserve will be available to new and young farmers this year. Here is how it will work. What is the linear cut? The Department announced this Tuesday that the National Reserve would be funded through a “linear cut” to the Basic Payment Scheme. However, an equivalent €5m in unspent funds from the 2015 Young Farmer Scheme is being added to the BPS pot, so the Irish Farmers Journal
understands that there will be no need to cut farmers’ BPS payments. Who can apply? The National Reserve will provide entitlements for two categories of farmers by priority: Young farmers: BPS applicants under 40 years of age in 2017 who started farming in the last ﬁve years. New entrants to farming: BPS applicants who started farming since 1 January 2015 and did not farm in their own name previously. It is unlikely that any funds will remain for farmers outside these two categories.
Applicants under either category must have an oﬀ-farm income of less than €40,000 in either 2015 or 2016. They must also have completed a Level 6 agricultural education course (Green Cert or equivalent), or at least have enrolled in such a course. When can I apply? The Department will make the full terms and conditions of the National Reserve and application forms available online next month, to coincide with the start of 2017 BPS applications. Applications usually remain open for several weeks.
What are the maximum entitlements? The detailed terms and conditions will only be known in March, but if the rules of the 2015 National Reserve are to go by, the maximum area eligible for entitlements from the National Reserve is likely to be 90ha. The value of entitlements obtained from the National Reserve is set at the national average, which is €184/ha. Applicants who already hold entitlements with a lower value will get a top-up from the National Reserve to bring them up to the national average.
Fertiliser sales slow signiﬁcantly The volume of fertiliser moving hands has slowed signiﬁcantly in the last two weeks due to a change in weather and with it