Minister McConalogue has hailed the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s GLAS as “a success” as it has forked out more than €1 billion to participants.
The minister has commended the scheme, which “delivers for Irish agriculture and the environment”.
Since the launch of GLAS in 2015, Irish farmers have “embraced” the scheme, with almost 50,000 contracts currently active.
The scheme supports over 30 actions designed to benefit biodiversity, climate change mitigation and improve water quality.
Some of the key environmental measures carried out include:
- GLAS farmers manage over 250,000 hectares of Low Input Permanent Pasture;
- Over 60,000 hectares of Traditional Hay Meadows and;
- Protect the quality of over 14,000km of watercourses;
- The support of the management and grazing of over 228,000 hectares of commonage. Also, protects rare breed populations and bird, bee and bat habits;
GLAS supports farm incomes with total payments to date to Irish farmers reaching €1.006bn.
Participants receive up to €5,000 per annum under the general scheme. However, there is a provision for payment up to €7,000 where the farmer is positioned to “give exceptional environmental returns”.
Almost 3,400 GLAS participants quality for the GLAS PLUS extra payment.
The minister said that GLAS provided a “knowledge resource” to Irish farmers with all participants undertaking training.
Minister McConalogue was joined by former Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney, who initially launched GLAS, in marking this milestone.
Minister McConalogue paid tribute to another former minister Michael Creed who also ensured its success.
A ‘two-fold’ success
Minister McConalogue said:
“GLAS has been a two-fold success. It has helped Irish farmers produce in an efficient and sustainable manner while supporting incomes and it has also protecting and enhancing our biodiversity.”
“Our experience will help us build for the future and help us identify what value we can bring to our next national agri-environmental scheme.”
“Farm incomes have been supported under GLAS with over €1 billion paid directly to farmers to date.”
“The development of the new CAP is an exciting opportunity to build on this success and to deliver on new and challenging targets.”
“Both Ministers Coveney and Creed played a key role in making GLAS a success. GLAS has been a tremendous scheme.”
“As part of the next CAP programme, I am committed to bringing an even more ambitious agri-environmental scheme that will support our farmers and protect our environment.”