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06/19/2014 12:00:00 AM


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Hayes, Tom

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Topical Issues

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Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

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Eligibility for

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Agriculture Schemes

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Topical Issues\Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

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Topical Issues\Agriculture Schemes\Eligibility for

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Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

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Agriculture Schemes\Eligibility for

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Senator


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Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Tom Hayes)

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Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Tom Hayes)

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Tom Hayes

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Snippet Contents:

I thank Deputy McConalogue for raising this very important issue for many farmers. It gives me the opportunity to clarify many of the issues around the new scheme, GLAS. GLAS is designed around core requirements which all applicants must satisfy. These are that an approved agricultural planner must prepare the GLAS application; a nutrient management plan for the whole farm must be in place before payment issues; the applicant must participate in training courses for specific actions; and proper record keeping will be essential. These are all very basic and essential items.
A tiered approach is being applied to entry into the scheme and these tiers are based on a consideration of priority environmental assets and actions. The tiered approach will give priority access to farmers with important environmental assets, such as Natura sites, farmland habitats, high status water areas or commonage land.
The tiers will operate as follows and it is important for me to outline them. Tier 1 will be farms with priority environmental assets, such as important habitats - privately owned Natura areas, SPA and SACs - important bird species, high status water courses, commonage land or rare breeds; a whole farm stocking rate exceeding 140 kg organic manure per hectare which must be produced on the holding provided they agree to certain related mandatory actions; more than 30 ha of arable crops, again provided they agree to certain related mandatory actions; or what I presume everybody welcomes, registered organic farm status. In the case of commonage owners, priority access under tier 1 is guaranteed if they can achieve an 80% participation level in a collective.
Tier 2 is farms with other key environmental assets; commonage owners who secure a minimum of 50% collective participation; a whole farm stocking rate less than 140 kg livestock manure per hectare; or less than 30 ha of arable crops undertaking key environmental actions.
Tier 3, farms which do not fulfil any of the criteria for tiers 1 or 2 but which commit to a series of general environmental actions, will qualify. As 25,000 to 30,000 farmers are being accommodated under the scheme, in all likelihood, the vast majority of tier 1 and tier 2 applicants will qualify.
The proposed maximum payment is €5,000 per annum with the scheme building up to the inclusion of more than 50,000 farmers with a total envisaged expenditure of €1,450 million over the programming period. It is also proposed that, within budget limits, a GLAS+ payment would be put in place for a limited number of farmers who take on particularly challenging actions which deliver an exceptional level of environmental benefit. It is proposed that this payment will be up to €2,000 per annum, in addition to the €5,000 already paid under GLAS.
I would like to set out some of the background to our proposals on commonages, which Deputy McConalogue-----