The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, today (Monday, December 6) announced the beginning of balancing payments under the 2021 Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme.

The scheme provides payments to people farming land in designated disadvantaged areas.

It aims to support the continuation of farming in these area by compensating farmers for the additional costs involved in farming such land.

The minister stated: “I’m delighted to be able to commence balancing payments under the ANC. The balancing payments today brings the total paid to-date under the 2021 ANC Scheme to €239 million paid to 95,000 farmers.

“The ANC scheme is a crucial support for farm families throughout the country.

“The allocation of €250 million to the ANC scheme in 2021 reflects the government’s commitment to supporting farmers’ incomes. I have also secured €250 million for the ANC scheme next year as part of Budget 2022, which guarantees payments for eligible farmers,” McConalogue added.

The allocation of money to farmers under the ANC scheme is set to remain unchanged under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

A total of €250 million per year will be allocated to the scheme from 2023–2027 bringing the total funding to €1.25 billion over a five-year period.

The minister said that over €1.53 billion has been paid out by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) since September 2021 under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS); ANC; Green, Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS); Targeted Agricultural Moderisation Scheme (TAMS); Organic Farming Scheme, Young Farmer Scheme and Sheep Welfare Scheme.

“The timely processing of payments across schemes remains a key priority for my department,” the minister said.

DAFM has said that regular payment runs will continue to be made under the 2021 ANC scheme as further cases are cleared for payment.

Any farmer with outstanding queries from the DAFM is advised to respond as soon as possible in order to facilitate the issuing of payments.