Payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme have commenced issuing to farmers, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue announced on Friday 1 December.

Payments will be visible in farmers’ bank accounts in the coming days and the Minister said that the Department of Agriculture will continue to process, as a matter of urgency, all remaining cases for payment as they meet scheme criteria.

The total paid to date under the 2023 ANC scheme amounts to some €238m paid to 95,000 farmers.

“The ANC scheme is an important support for farmers in many regions of the country and the issue of these balancing payments on time reflects the recognition by the Government of this," he said.

'Significant milestone'

This year's payments, he added, are in line with the numbers paid in 2022 adding that payments commencing on Friday are a significant milestone achieved and is in line with the date notified to farmers in recent weeks and last March.

“The timely processing of scheme payments remains a key priority for me and my Department. I know how crucial payments are, especially at this time of year.

“I have also given the commitment through the farmers' charter that payments in 2024 will return to the traditional date of the third week of September, which is the week of the Ploughing Championships," he explained.

The Minister also confirmed that arrangements are being made by his Department to facilitate payment of the balancing under the Basic Income Support for Sustainability Scheme (BISS) from 4 December 2023.