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.