The Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme balancing payments have commenced issuing to farmers.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said: “The ANC scheme is an important support for farmers in many regions of the country and the issue of these balancing payments, on time, reflects the recognition by the government of this.

“The total paid to date under the 2023 ANC scheme amounts to some €238 million paid to 95,000 farmers.

“This is in line with the numbers paid in 2022. Payments commencing today is a significant milestone achieved and is in line with the date notified to farmers in recent weeks and last March.”

The minister added that the timely processing of scheme payments remains a “key priority” for him and his department.

“I know how crucial payments are, especially at this time of year. Payments will be visible in farmers’ bank accounts in the coming days and my department will continue to process, as a matter of urgency, all remaining cases for payment as they meet scheme criteria,” he said.

“I have also given the commitment through the Farmer’s Charter that payments in 2024 will return to the traditional date of the third week of September, which is the week of the Ploughing Championships.”

The minister also confirmed that arrangements are being made by his department to facilitate payment of the balancing under the Basic Income Support for Sustainability Scheme (BISS) from Monday, December 4, 2023.

DAFM has also stated that in line with previous years, not all applications are currently cleared for payment under the ANC Scheme.

Farmers are advised to submit any outstanding evidence in support of their application to the department’s Portlaoise office as soon as possible to facilitate the release of payments.

Payments may take up to five days to reach farmers accounts, according to the department.