The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Tim Cullinan, said confirmation that lands classified as ‘category 1’ land under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) will now be eligible for the Fodder Support Scheme is a “necessary development”.

“These lands should never have been excluded. The minister must move immediately to publish the revised terms and conditions,” he said.

“This is the right thing to do. Excluding Category 1 ANC lands from the terms and conditions was a spectacular own goal by the minister.”

IFA national hill farming committee chairman Cailín Conneely said we have yet to see the full details on how the scheme will be amended but the IFA’s understanding is all Category 1 land under ANC will now be eligible to be applied on if the farmer meets the other terms and conditions.

A spokesperson for Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue stated to Agriland.

“Minister McConalouge devised the Fodder Support Scheme to support the drystock sector in saving the maximum amount of fodder for next winter in the face of increased input costs.

“The minister is looking at all options to ensure as many beef and sheep farmers can access the €56 million scheme, which will pay these farmers up to €1,000 each to save silage or hay,” the spokesperson added.

The scheme, which was announced on Wednesday (June 15) came under fire for excluding farmers on certain constrained land, many of whom are hill farmers.

Under the terms and conditions, lands classified as ‘category 1’ under the ANC Scheme are not currently eligible for the €56 million measure.

Category 1 land is considered the most constrained land type under the ANC Scheme, and mainly consists of farmland on hills and mountains.