Tuesday 27 January 2015

National Reserve and Young Farmers Schemes

The National Reserve and Young Farmers Schemes open for applications on 5th January 2015.   The two priority categories under the National Reserve are 'Young Farmer' and 'New Entrant to farming'.  Further details, including eligibility criteria, can be found in the Scheme Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions documents below.

The closing date for receipt of applications for the two priority categories under the National Reserve is 31st March 2015.  The closing date for receipt of applications under the Young Farmers Scheme is 15th May 2015. 

Time is rapidly running out for applying for these schemes. If you are under 40, have started farming in the past 5 years and have a Green Cert or higher qualification in Agriculture or will have started a green cert by September 30th 2016 you should contact an advisor immediately. Waiting until GLAS and the Basic Payment Scheme are in full swing is likely to be too late.

More information on the schemes can be found by following the link below.

or call us at  (091) 738900

Sunday 25 January 2015

Countdown to GLAS

The countdown to the opening of the GLAS scheme for applications is on. Key developments in the last week include;

1. Minister Coveney's address to the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, of particular interest was     his commitment to allow farmers apply as individuals and his setting of a target of mid–late February for the opening of applications to the scheme.

2. The confirmation by Commissioner Hogan that the Letter of Comfort sought by the Dept. of Agriculture will issue shortly.

3. The news that development of the on line application system has reached its final stage with a small group of farm advisors preparing dummy applications and field testing the system.

I expect that a significant announcement will be made later this week.  The presence of both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture at events linked to the IFA AGM later this week is very significant. Politicians love a platform for good news announcements and I am sure that the IFA would welcome such an announcement, being made at their big event of the year.

Monday 19 January 2015

Minister Coveney to address Oireachtas Commoittee on Agriculture.

The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney will address the Oireachtas Committee on the RDP tomorrow at 2 o clock. A significant announcement on the Commonage issue is expected. Full details will be on yourcommonage over the coming days.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

The Hill Farmers proposed implementation Strategy, Last chance for a solution

There were two very interesting contributions developments arising from parliamentary questions asked by Michael Fitzmaurice TD and Eamonn O Cuiv TD on the last day of Dail sittings in 2014. The responses by Minister Coveney are very significant for commonage farmers and the development of the GLAS scheme.

First if we take the question asked by Michael Fitzmaurice regarding the position of tier 3 farmers and GLAS applications in 2015. These are farmers who do not have Commonage or NATURA lands and who in a position to avail of the tier 2 actions. At the training courses held for farm advisors the Dept of Agriculture had indicated that such people along with non commonage AEOS participants would not be allowed to apply in 2015.  This was intended to direct planner effort towards producing commonage plans.  Many Farm Advisors considered this as a dubious policy and questioned whether it could be enforced.  It now appears that they have been proved right.

With 30,000 places in 2015 and only 10,000 in the following years, tier 3 farmers really have only one chance to get into GLAS, they must apply this year.  This will clearly divert planner effort away from commonages.

The impact of this must be seen in conjunction with the Minister response to Eamon O Cuiv’s question.  As part of that reply the Minister confirmed that GLAS will not open until February and even that is dependent on receiving a letter of comfort from the EU Commission.  The delay to the opening of the scheme and the inclusion of tier 3 farmers for 2015 leaves the Dept. of Agriculture’s original commonage proposals in tatters.

The 12 point plan put forward by the Hill Farmers was adapted from the proposed implementation strategy in the Commonage Case Studies report written by Fergal Monaghan, James Moran and Michael Martyn.  This plan addresses the limited window for producing commonage management plans and deals with the issue of individual applications in a workable manner. It is not perfect but it is achievable.

A solution must be found in the next 10 days, the Minister has the answer on his desk.  The proposed implementation plan is realistically the only show in town.