As a result of the meeting between the Minister for Agriculture’s commonage implementation committee and the hill farmers for action group last Friday in Athenry the Department Of Agriculture has released a statement outlining a number of important changes to the GLAS scheme proposals.
The most significant change to the scheme is that the requirement for collective agreement between farmers for entry to GLAS has been scrapped.
A spokesperson for the Hill Farmers for action group said that they were delighted with this outcome as a result of their campaign. Farmers can now apply as individuals for GLAS declaring that he/she is complying with a GLAS commonage management plan.
While welcoming this announcement the hill farmer group has said there is a lot more detail yet to be clarified about the mechanics of how the GLAS scheme will work.
The meeting in Athenry was set up by an intermediary with the Hill Farmers For Action Group being having representation from Donegal, Sligo, Mayo and Galway.
The group has said that once they were recognised as the people representing hill and commonage farmers and got to the negotiating table there was a lot of common ground and a recognition of the problems faced by hill and commonage farmers with the new GLAS scheme.
From here on it is anticipated that there will be regular consultation between the Hill Farmers For Action and the commonage implementation committee.
Finally the spokesman for the hill farmer group said that it was great that when ordinary farmers come together and organised themselves their voice can be heard and changes can be made.