Written answers

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Schemes Eligibility

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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167. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if, in order for farmers with commonage to be eligible to participate in the new GLAS scheme, they will be required to form an association of farmers in the commonage; if the minimum threshold for participation will be 50% of the active farmers in the commonage or 50% of the landholders in the commonage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25093/14]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Minister, Department of Agriculture, the Marine and Food; Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Since I first proposed the 80% participation level on Commonages to qualify under Tier One of GLAS, I have further reviewed the position and I announced on 13 May 2014 that I was building in a second-tier access to the Scheme where a minimum of just 50% participation could be secured. I believe this will significantly ease the burden of securing agreements, while at the same time providing a critical mass for management of the commonage which can be expanded upon in future years.

The public consultation is now nearing completion, following which details of the GLAS Scheme, including Commonage requirements, will be finalised. It is clear, however, that arrangements for Commonages must be based on collective agreement among active farmers if the environmental objectives, for which payment is being advanced, are to be achieved.

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