GLAS The new agri-environment scheme to be introduced in 2015 will give priority access to farmers with commonage. The Dept of Agricultures original proposal was that such an agreement would have to have the support of a a qualified majority of shareholders, first 80% then 50%, now according to a statement by the Taoiseach the 50% is only a target and not a requirement, the mechanism that will replace it is still uncertain. This agreement will be for the commonage only and the commitment entered into by an individual farmer has no direct impact on how he farms his privately owned land. The structure of a grazing agreement is still unclear but we now know some of the details. These include;
- A Commonage Management Plan will be prepared by an approved commonage planner. This will be submitted on line and will contain the herd numbers that have signed up to the plan, flock markings of participants, stock numbers to be held by individual participants, details of other measures such as burning or removal of rubbish.
- A Commonage The mechanism for selecting the planner has not been defined, I would hope that where the farmers have a preference then that preference would be respected and that where there is no concensus that the Department of Agriculture will appoint a suitable person for the role.
- Where this level of support cannot be secured the Commonage Implementation Committee may be able to assist.
- The Min/ Max numbers will serve as guideline. The commonage planner may submit alternative figures but must provide a scientific justification to back these up.
- GLAS applicants will have to attain the minimum stock numbers required of them by Dec 31st 2016.
- The commonage as a whole must reach the minimum numbers by Dec 31st 2018.
- The distribution of stock numbers in excess of the minimum can be distributed between the applicants in a manner agreeable to them.
- All GLAS participants must submit their annual sheep census.
- Farmers who do not join up to the plan at the beginning will have their contract duration reduced. This means that if a plan is submitted in 2015, a farmer on that commonage who does not sign up to it until 2016 will only get a 4 year contract in GLAS.
If you want to arrange a site visit for the purpose of explaining the Commonage Management Planning Process, the cost, the implications and how it affects GLAS applications please give us a call at 091 738900 or e mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember you can keep your existing advisor for BPS / GLAS applications and get a specialist in to prepare your Commonage Management Plan.