Glas payments to commonage farmers under threat!

Following a meeting between the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) and the DAFM last week,Dept officials revealed that 389 commonages still had no planner approved to complete a commonage management plan (CMP),according to CAP Chairman Colm O Donnell.

The officials explained that these were for the most part commonages where applicants had applied for the Commonage management Plan (CMP) action under Glas 2 of the scheme.Also communicated to the INHFA delegation was that all CMP’s must be lodged with the DAFM and approved by October before the E.U. commission would clear payment for the full year of 2016 for both Glas 1 and 2 CMP applicants.

While the guide document (Glas circular 32/2015) for the completion of the CMP was circulated to approved planners on the 11th of August 2015 and training provided by the DAFM including field training of these planners, no Commonage Management Plan has been lodged or accepted to date.The software to complete the online CMP function is still under development and while not yet given to approved planners, the content will be similar to Glas circular 32/2015 pointed out Mr O Donnell.

At this stage most if not all of the field work should be completed by advisors and farmers who have applied for Glas 1 need to know their individual minimum stocking rates allocated to them as this action was to be achieved by the end of 2016.With decisions now being made by hill farmers with regard to numbers and with breeding sales commencing shortly, these CMP’s need to be completed very quickly so as to avoid possible base line breaches where stocking rates are not in place.

However added Mr O Donnell flexibility on stocking targets must now be afforded to those farmers who have applied for Glas 2 under the CMP action where an approved advisor has not yet been appointed.It is virtually impossible to expect these cases to catch up ,i.e. advisors to conduct assessments,inform shareholders,and meet proposed stocking rates by the end of 2016.The INHFA have suggested to the DAFM that these affected farmers are given until the end of 2017 to meet their individual minimum and the commonage minimum extended to the end of 2019.

Concluding Mr O Donnell stated that every effort must be made to ensure that hill farmers in the scheme get paid on time because of the very significant investment required in year one, which includes paying for the CMP and buying in replacement breeding stock.