It is completely unacceptable that farmers who have been locked out of GLAS, and those due to finish the current Scheme in 2020, are left in limbo.
The EU proposals to cut 5% of Pillar 1 and 15% of Pillar 2 Payments must be strongly opposed. The prospect of losing €94 million is devastating for Irish farmers. Two thirds of all GLAS participants will be finished this time next year. They need to know what is going to replace it. Other farmers who finished AEOS have not received a payment since 2018. They need to know when they can access a replacement scheme. Continuing to ask farmers to do more for less is just not sustainable.
This lack of certainty over GLAS impacts more of farmers farming in marginal land such as in Mayo. So I am calling on the Minister to make this a priority and to announce the roll-over of farm schemes until the new CAP is in place. Eligibility of new schemes, which is a matter for member states, must ensure a targeted and flexible approach to account for and address local needs. It should have the tools to deal with everything our farmers face from pricing to cost of production and restrictions on land uses.
There is now an opportunity to get a good solid environmental scheme similar to REPS 4 in place. I am demanding that this opportunity is maximised to the benefit of those who need it most while addressing the serious issue of climate change. Enabling farmers to be responsible custodians of land while producing top quality food has to be a priority.