Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has confirmed that over 20,000 Basic Income for Sustainability Scheme (BISS) and Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) advance payments are still unpaid.

In parliamentary question this week, Sinn Féin spokesperson for agriculture, Claire Kerrane asked the minister what steps he is taking to ensure that all farmers waiting for these payments receive them without delay.

In March, Minister McConalogue confirmed delays of up to a month for BISS and ANC payments this year, such payments are usually made in September.

Advance payments under the schemes began issuing to farmers from the last week of October.


Minister McConalogue said that to date over 90% of eligible BISS applicants have received an advance payment of 70%.

He said that the unpaid applicants are made up of cases where further processing is required.

This may include instances where the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is awaiting further information from the farmer, a penalty is to be applied for non-compliance issues or where entitlement trades have occurred.

The minister said that 89% of eligible ANC applicants have received an advance payment of 85%.

He said that unpaid applicants are “those who have not fulfilled scheme criteria in relation to stocking density requirements” or applicants with land errors on their BISS application.

There are also a small number of unpaid applicants due to “ongoing herd ownership issues”.

“Stocking density requirements are verified weekly against herdowner Animal Identification and Movement (“AIM”) profiles, ensuring applicants who meet their stocking requirements during that time period are cleared for payment,” the minister said.

SchemeNumber eligibleNumber PaidUnpaid
Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC)103,71692,31111,405
Basic Income for Sustainability Scheme (BISS)117,776109,1048,672
Source: DAFM

Figures provided by DAFM show that 8,672 farmers are awaiting a BISS advance payment, while 11,405 applicants are yet to receive their ANC advance payment.

“Every effort has been made by my department, and will continue to be made, to ensure payments reach the maximum number of eligible applicants as soon as possible,” McConalogue said.

“My department is continuing to process all outstanding cases and communicate with farmers and advisors to ensure as many cases as possible are cleared in advance of balancing payments in early December,” he added.