Latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show 19,000 farmers still waiting on payment under the Area of Natural Constraints Scheme (ANC).

The Department has said that 82,867 farmers of the 102,000 who applied have received payments totalling €176.5m since payments first began to be issued some two months ago.

Much of the delays to the issuing of payments is due to EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes which require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases Remote Sensing (i.e. satellite) inspections, be completed before any payments issue.

Up to 10% of applications are selected for a Remote Sensing eligibility inspection.

The ANC Scheme which replaces the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme under the new Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 has been opened by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Under the 2015 Scheme, €195m will be paid to farmers supplying crucial aid to those farming in areas of natural constraint.

The rates of aid under the ANC Scheme are as follows:

Area Designation Payment Rates(per Hectare) Payable Area
Mountain Type Land €109.71 First 10 hectares
€95.99 10 to 34 hectares
More Severely Handicapped Lowland €95.99 Up to 30 hectares
Less Severely Handicapped Lowland €82.27 Up to 30 hectares

The Scheme will continue in place until 2018 pending the new delineation of new Areas of Natural Constraints in accordance with the criteria provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1305/2013.

Under the provisions of this Regulation, the new delineation will be carried out using physical characteristics; the most relevant to Ireland are as follows;

  • Soil Moisture Balance (trafficability)
  • Soil drainage;
  • Slopes;
  • Soil rooting and Depth;
  • Soil Texture;
  • Organic matter.