The application period for tranche 2 of the GLAS scheme has now closed following huge interest in the scheme.
According to the Department of Agriculture, when the system closed on December 14 there were approx 19,000 applications created on the system with almost 14,000 fully submitted.
The Department has said the period between December 15 and 18 is now available for the remaining 5,000 applications to be finalised and submitted.
The Minister for Agriculture had previously indicated that there would be 10,000-13,000 places available under GLAS 2.
The Department has also provided figures on the tiered breakdown of the applicants. It says of the submitted applications 50% were tier 1, 30% tier 2 and remainder were Tier 3.
The Department will now begin a process of ranking and validating the applicants. Speculation is now rife among planners as to whether all the applicants will be accepted into the scheme.
Some are suggesting changes to this tranche of the scheme will see a lower average payment to farmers meaning there will be more money for the extra applicants. Others are suggesting that with a General Election to be called over the next few months the Minister is unlikely to leave farmers ‘out in the cold’.
Despite these suggestions all communications from the Minister and the Department to date have been firm on a figure of 10,000 to 13,000 participants in the second tranche.
On GLAS 1, it remains the Department’s intention to make the first instalment (85%) part-year payment before end of year.
About 22,000 farmers have a October 1, start date and are eligible for a part-year payment for relevant actions in 2015. It says there will be a likely total payment of around €15m meaning an average payment in the region of €680.
GLAS+, however, will not be paid until the New Year, the Department says.