IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy said the priority for Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney must be to make GLAS available to more than 20,000 farmers from October.
This would bring the total in the scheme to nearly 50,000 in 2016 which is in line with commitments laid out in the 2014-2020 RDP.
“The GLAS scheme is a vital income lifeline to thousands of farmers for whom REPS and AEOS contracts have finished.
“The payments are particularly relevant in marginal land areas as well as Natura and commonage areas throughout the country where incomes are traditionally low.”
Mr. McCarthy also pointed out that before the new GLAS scheme is introduced some technical changes are necessary in order to make it easier for farmers to maximise their payments.
The Rural Development Chairman also highlighted the importance of the forthcoming 2016 Budget.
“The allocation to the agri-environment programme must be increased from €150m this year to €250m next year to pay for those farmers still in AEOS, and the increased number who will be joining GLAS.”