It has come to my attention over the past week with regard to the GLAS Scheme that farmers on commonage,that they would have had to put in an application in 2014 or else they are not compliant. Ironically if you are a private owner of a mountain or lowlands all you have to do is apply in 2016. This is an extraordinary situation where we are treating farmers in different ways.
Do we not realise that we are in danger of losing the farmers who have the expertise in framing on mountains?, and people may laugh at this, but we would lose the use of how a dog is able to go up a mountain. I have put questions into the Department of Agriculture on this and it is very wrong that some farmers are being omitted from the GLAS scheme because of a rule like this. It is imperative that all farmers in these areas, where most are in reciept of low incomes, are given the same chance to get into these schemes.
If the Department want to make sure that mountains are kept the way they require, if they put one farmer out for this then that farmer is entitled to put as many sheep as they want up on the mountain and thus it will cause a problem for the other farmers who may have joined and who may fit the criteria. What we will do is drive farners out of the scheme without any fault of theirs. I am calling on the Minister and the Department to treat all farmers equally on this scheme for once and for all.