The IFA Rural Development Chairman, Mayo's Michael Biggins has urged the Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary to commence the process of extending GLAS contracts to 36,000 farmers who are due to finish their five-year plans at the end of December.

Mr Biggins says it will be unacceptable for farmers to be denied environmental payments such as GLAS, as they play a key role in supporting farm income in regions and enterprises where there is a high dependency on direct supports.

According to Mr Biggins, recent comments by Minister Calleary where he focused on a new REPS type scheme, rather than the existing GLAS scheme, worries farmers who expect their GLAS contract to be extended under EU CAP transitional arrangements.

In relation to the new REPS-type scheme, IFA will be insisting that funding is additional to GLAS and other environmental schemes as promised in the Programme for Government, and the association has sought a meeting with the Department of Agriculture on details of the new scheme.

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