The European Commission has approved a request from Minister Michael Creed for provision to be made for a higher rate of advance payments under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and a number of Rural Development Schemes.

Following a submission to the commission, the rate of advance payment payable under the BPS from October 16 has been increased from 50% to 70%.

In addition, the rate of advance payments under Rural Development Schemes – such as the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) and the Sheep Welfare Scheme – has been increased from 75% to 85%.

Minister Creed said his motive in seeking these advanced payments was the “market difficulties being experienced in several sectors”.

“I am acutely aware of the significance to farmers and the wider rural economy of the BPS, as well as the various Rural Development Schemes, and I am also mindful of ongoing market difficulties. I am thus very happy to confirm that these increased advance payment rates have now been approved,” said the minister.

He also confirmed that, after changes to EU regulations, payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme will be paid in two installments this year.

The initial installment of 85% is scheduled to commence in mid-September, as in previous years. Balancing payments of 15% will then commence in early December.

The budget for the ANC Scheme has increased to €250 million for this year.

“My department will shortly be writing to all farmers, to outline to them the schedule of payments to be made under various schemes in the coming months. Such payments continue to make a vital contribution to the ongoing sustainability and development of the rural economy,” Minister Creed concluded.