With a funding allocation of €1.25bn over five years, the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) has received the second-highest payment provision under Pillar II, only outshone by the new Agri-Environment Climate Measure.

The ANC scheme will rollover in its current format and will provide for payments of €250m per annum to almost 100,000 farmers.

There are not expected to be any changes to the current scheme requirements, with the two standout features being stocking rate and maintaining land in good agricultural and environmental condition.

Applicants must satisfy a minimum stocking rate averaging equal to or greater than 0.15 livestock units per eligible forage hectare across the 12-month calendar year and also maintain a stocking rate equalling or greater than 0.15LU/ha across a consecutive seven-month period within the calendar year.

Further details were also provided on the base level of activity for an active farmer.

The minimum stocking rate of 0.15LU/ha over the calendar year will also be taken to denote farming activity, while other scenarios will also be considered where stock are not retained but forage is produced.

In addition, the definition of an eligible hectare is also being reviewed in light of the inclusion of areas classified as high nature value.

€300m for TAMS

The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme will morph into the On-Farm Capital Investment Scheme in 2023. Funding of €100m is outlined for on-farm investments under the RDP 2023-2027 but there is an additional €340m in funding allocated through the transitional rural development plan in the period 2021-2015.

This will leave almost €300m available for the period 2023-2027. As discussed during the recent CAP consultation period, the list of eligible infrastructure and equipment is being reviewed, while the Irish Farmers Journal understands that the level of grant aid will also be reviewed for certain investments.

A recent example of this was the announcement in Budget 2022 of 60% grant aid funding under TAMS for solar energy investments.