The 2016 Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme payment details for farmers in Northern Ireland have been announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Michelle O’Neill.

Payment rates will be £56.47/ha for the first 200ha, and £42.35/ha above 200ha, O’Neill announced.

Minister O’Neill also announced that ANC payments will begin to issue in early March 2016 and most payments should be processed before the end of that month.

The ANC Scheme is a new measure in the Department’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme.

This Scheme has replaced the Less Favoured Areas Compensatory Allowances Scheme, with farmers claiming for ANC payments as part of their 2015 Single Application.

“In June 2014, I announced that there would be an Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme in Pillar II for the first two years of the current CAP period, with a review thereafter.

“This is the first year of that Scheme with claims made in May 2015.

“The payment rate for the first 200ha of eligible forage land claimed will be £56.47/ha, and the payment rate for eligible forage land claimed above 200ha will be £42.35/ha.

“The split rates are a requirement of the new EU Regulation which states that payments must be degressive above a threshold level of claimed area per holding,” O’Neil said.