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.