ICMSA: ‘Farmers who lost out on ANC should appeal soon’

Farmers who feel they have grounds to appeal the redesignation of their land under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme “should do so quickly”, warns the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

The closing date for submitting appeals under the scheme is April 8, and the association argues that the redesignation of land for farmers that may have been previously covered under the scheme resulted in a financial hit.

“Following the review, over 2,000 townlands were included for the first time while 700 townlands were excluded. For farmers in the 700 townlands, this decision to exclude them represents a considerable financial loss,” according to Lorcan McCabe, the ICMSA’s deputy president.

The opportunity for these farmers to appeal this decision marks the final chance to be included in the scheme. In addition, farmers whose lands have not been designated can also appeal to seek the inclusion of their townland under the ANC Scheme.

McCabe also highlighted that a farmer can appeal the category within the scheme that a townland has been placed in which, he said, is important in the context of the level of payments that can be drawn down.

He urged farmers to make an appeal if they feel they have grounds to do so, as “the outcome could determine the ANC status of their land for many years to come”.

When the 2019 scheme was launched, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine estimated that some 750 farmers would be negatively impacted by the redesignation of land.

According to the department’s figures, the financial impact for many farmers could have been over €1,000.

This figure doesn’t account for the ‘phasing out’ payments that the department will make for farmers who are negatively hit.

These payments will be 80% of the 2007-2013 rates for 2019, and 20% of the same rates for 2020.