It is vitally important that this good start to payments is maintained as direct payments make up a significant proportion of farm income on a substantial number of farms, IFA deputy president Brian Rushe has said.

Payments worth €185m under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) have commenced this week, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue confirmed on Wednesday.

The 86,000 farmers being paid in this first tranche of 2020 advance payments is an increase from the €168.5m paid to 79,000 farmers at this stage in 2019.

Vital support

The IFA has said approximately 100,000 farmers benefit from ANC payments with the scheme worth €250m.

Rushe said: “This payment is a vital support to farmers whose incomes are generally low and where farming is challenging due to marginal land.”

It’s important that the remaining farmers are paid once the stocking rate criteria is met

In line with last year’s arrangement, the payments currently issuing are an 85% advance payment on the ANC with 15% balancing payments due to commence in early December.

Rushe continued: “It’s important that the remaining farmers are paid once the stocking rate criteria is met, and the balancing 15% payment is made.”

The Department has said many farmers have yet to satisfy the annual average stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare for the calendar year and have until 31 December to do so.

Farmers should submit any outstanding stocking evidence in support of their application to the Department’s Portlaoise office.

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