The Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) is a measure funded by the Rural Development Programme. GLAS promotes practices to assist the preservation of habitats and species as well as addressing the issues of climate change mitigation and water quality, in support of sustainable Irish agriculture. Since the launch of GLAS tranche 1 in 2015, the Scheme has been extremely successful in terms of uptake with in excess of 50,000 farmers approved into the GLAS scheme over the first three tranches (GLAS 1, 2 and 3). The Rural Development Programme participation target of 50,000 was exceeded almost two years ahead of schedule.
Payment is then provided for selected actions, generally up to a maximum of €5,000 per annum for five years with provision for up to €7,000 (known as GLAS+) in a limited number of cases where the farmer is required to give exceptional environmental commitments.
In 2019 the allocation for GLAS (including GLAS training) is €203m. The expenditure so far in 2019 is €50.5m in terms of GLAS payments and €357,884 in respect of GLAS training. Currently over 95% of active participants have received their 2018 balancing payment meaning that they are fully up to date with payments. Those with outstanding actions have been advised of their requirements to be completed before they can receive their balancing payment. GLAS payments will continue to issue on a weekly basis as further participants pass the required validation checks. Payments in respect of the 2019 scheme year will commence in mid-November as per previous years.
The Knowledge Transfer Scheme is now in its third year. Under the scheme, participant farmers receive training in a group setting with their peers and subject matter experts in order to up-skill and inform farmers on best practice and new methods of farming to increase productivity and reduce costs etc. These groups are run by trained group facilitators (Agricultural Advisors).
€23m has been allocated to the scheme each calendar year while €20.73m and €18.59m respectively were the expenditure amounts for the initial two years of the scheme. Year 3 payments will commence later in 2019.