Saturday 17 October 2015


GLAS 2 will open next week. The Dept. of Agriculture will accept applications for approximately 6 weeks with the scheme expected to close at the end of November. With 13,000 places available (which we expect will be filled) it means that by Christmas almost 40,000 places in GLAS will be taken and only 10,000 or so, approx. 20% left for the third, final and smallest tranche next summer.
While the changes to the Low Input Pasture option will have a negative impact for some people, there is no alternative to the scheme as it stands. The priority now is to make the best of what is on offer and secure your payments for the next 5 years.  While some people may be tempted to wait until the final tranche in the hope of squeezing another year out of AEOS but this course of action is a high risk strategy even for Tier 1 applicants. Leaving GLAS until the last and smallest tranche means that there is no guarantee that you will get in at all. Lets look at an example of a farmer in this position.
AEOS 3 payment of €4,000.
Potential GLAS payment of €5,000
This farmer applied for AEOS in Nov 2012 and received a start date for that scheme in May 2013. He has already received a part payment for 2013, a full payment for 2014 and will soon receive a full payment for 2015. In total he has received €10,660 in AEOS. If he remains in that scheme he can draw down a further €12,000 before his contract ends in 2018. However this will be at the cost of missing out on GLAS altogether, a loss of €25,000. Even after factoring in the costs associated with applying for GLAS the farmer is still down €12,000.
Now, what if he decides to stick it out in AEOS for the moment and apply for GLAS in the summer of 2016. In theory this allows him to draw down a further €4,000 from AEOS and then €25,000 from GLAS, a total of €29,000. However this additional payment also carries a risk, if he does not get accepted into GLAS next summer he is down €12,000. In effect he is staking €12,000 on a bet, if he is lucky he wins €4,000, if he is not so lucky he loses the €12,000 stake. 
Remember as well that GLAS on commonage farms is about much more than just the GLAS payment. It is about securing the eligibility of the entire commonage for all schemes. Participating in the scheme, working with your commonage advisor and fellow farmers helps secure your payments across all schemes into the future. Is taking a chance on this for the sake of €4,000 really a good idea?

Monday 5 October 2015

Postal Disruption and GLAS

With GLAS set to reopen next week, farmers and their advisors are getting ready for what is likely to be a short but very intense application period. While the application process for the scheme is on line and for most farmers the pre-application registration, authorising an advisor can be carried out using text messages, there are two groups where a hard copy application is required. These are herd numbers held in joint names and those farmers wishing to changes advisors. In these cases the farmers or the advisor must submit a paper application to Agfood On Line services. During the first tranche, these were processed quite rapidly early in the application period but faced increasing delays as the campaign progressed.

With no end in sight to the current postal disruption, it is vital that the Dept. of Agriculture take action to provide an alternative system to accommodate these two groups. I would suggest that a scanned copy of the forms submitted by e mail as a pdf should be considered adequate in the short term. If necessary a hard copy could be submitted later.

This issue cannot be left to one side in the hope that the current difficulties affecting the postal service can be resolved. The Dept. of Agriculture should be pro-active about this and prevent these groups of farmers from being dis advantaged by something outside of their control.