ANC payments ‘a good start that must be maintained’ – IFA

The announcement that payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme will be made to farmers over the coming days has been welcomed as “a good start to the run of direct payment”.

Speaking after Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue confirmed the payments, Brian Rushe, the deputy president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), said: “The payment is vital support to farmers whose incomes are generally low and where farming is challenging, due to marginal land.”

Rushe argued that it was “vitally important that this good start to payments is maintained as direct payments make up a significant proportion of farm income on a substantial number of farms”.

According to Minister McConalogue, payments worth €185 million under the 2020 ANC scheme have commenced issuing this week to 86,000 farmers.

“It’s important that the remaining farmers are paid once the stocking rate criteria is met, and the balancing 15% payment is made in early December,” Rushe pointed out.

In line with last year’s arrangement, the payments currently issuing are an 85% advance payment on the ANC scheme. 15% balancing payments are due to commence in early December.

As in previous years, not all ANC applications are currently cleared for payment.

In particular, many farmers have yet to satisfy the annual average stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare for the calendar year. However, farmers have until December 31, 2020, to do so.

Such cases will be processed for payment once this requirement has been confirmed.