GLAS is the new agri-Environment Scheme that is set to open for applications in February 2015. The scheme is a successor to the previous REPS and AEOS schemes. Like AEOS it is a menu based scheme where the applicant picks measures for individual land parcels on their farm. While there are certain combinations of measures that are not permitted it is normally possible for a farmer to opt for more than one option on a particular land parcel. The maximum payment is normally€5,000 per year. In certain cases an additional payment known as GLAS + will allow payments up to €7,000 per year.

Applications to the scheme are made through an approved farm adviser. The application itself is done on line, Yourcommonage will first notify the Dept. of Agriculture of the applicant's herd number and their intention to apply for the scheme. The Dept. of Agriculture will then seek to confirm this by texting the farmer concerned. There will be an alternative written option available but the Dept. of Agriculture have made it clear that texts are their preferred method.  Once the farmers intention to join the scheme has been confirmed, the Dept. of Agriculture will permit us to produce and submit an application on line.

This years scheme will close for applications on May 22nd 2015. At that stage the Dept. of Agriculture will ascertain the total number of applicants. There are 30,000 places available in 2015, if the number of applicants is less than this, than all valid applications will be accepted. If the scheme is over subscribed applicants will be selected on the basis of three tiers. The first tier is  made up of;

  • Farmers with designated land
  • Farmers with commonage, 
  • Farms with certain land parcels known as habitats for certain species of birds. In most cases these will also be designated as SAC or SPA's.
  • Farmers with Rare breeds. 
  • Farms with land along certain high status water courses. 
  • Organic farmers who select certain measures will be considered as tier 1 but all of the other tier 1 categories will be accommodated first. 

If there are places remaining after all of the applicants with one or more of these priority environmental assets have been selected, then applicants in Tier 2 will be selected. Tier 2 applicants will include;

  • Farmers with a high stocking rate who select certain measures.
  • Tillage farmers with more than 30 Ha who select certain measures. 
  • Farmers who select certain measures such as Wild Bird Cover.
All other applicants are considered tier 3 and will only be considered after all valid applications from tier 1 and tier 2 applicants have been accommodated. While no one can be guaranteed access to the scheme, with 30,000 place available in 2015 tier 1 and tier 2 applicants will probably be accepted. Significant numbers of tier 3 applicants should also get into the scheme. However in 2016 and 2017 with only be 10,000 places available each year, access for tier 3 applicants will be difficult. 

Even though there are a large number of places available in 2015, time is very short and the application window coincides with applications for the Basic Payment Scheme. For this reason it is vital that intending applicants notify us as soon as possible. 

Successful applicants will be notified by the Dept. of Agriculture in the Autumn, they will get a start date of October 1st 2015 and will be paid for 3 months of the current year. As a condition of the scheme they will have to get a Nutrient Management Plan prepared within one year of joining the scheme. This plan will utilise the results of soil tests along with information on the stocking densities and crop types for each parcel to produce fertiliser recommendations. As soil samples cannot be taken for 3 months after fertiliser or animal wastes have been applied to land, sampling is normally restricted to the winter months. Yourcommonage will seek to complete this work by February 2016.

For commonage applicants, a commonage management plan will have to be prepared. The present situation is that the commonage advisor will have to be nominated before May 22nd and the Commonage Management Plan submitted by July 3rd. will work with farmers to build this plan from the ground up. Farmers who have applied to the scheme through one of our advisers will receive a discount on the cost of the commonage plan. Farmers with more than one commonage will also receive a discount on the cost of second or subsequent commonage plans prepared by our advisers. 

An adviser from yourcommonage will follow up each application at least annually to ensure that all is going as it should and to assist the farmer with records. The adviser will also be available to help the farmer with correspondence from the Dept. of Agriculture, the NPWS and the Local Authority and to assist him or her with the annual Basic Payment Scheme application.  

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