Advance Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) payments will be made at the time of the Ploughing championships next year, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.
Speaking at the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) AGM on Friday in Limerick, he said farm payments from his Department are some of the earliest in Europe.
“Payment dates in 2024 will revert to the traditional dates, with advance ANC being made at the time of the Ploughing championships and BISS/CRISS commencing in the middle of October with [eco schemes] following on at the end of October,” he said.
The Minister said that officials from his Department are working through cases with advisers and farmers to resolve outstanding issues to allow payments to issue.
“Call centre staff are available to deal with queries, both in terms of payments made and any outstanding documentation that is required,” he said.
Minister McConalogue said that it is prudent that farmers continue to prepare for the move to the lower stocking rate under the nitrates derogation from 1 January 2024.
“I know that most will have already commenced this process by speaking with their advisers and assessing their own individual circumstances.
“In support of this planning, my officials have written to farmers to advise how their land will be categorised next year in terms of the maximum derogation stocking rate.
"Anyone stocked over 170kg N/ha that has not received a letter yet will do so in the coming days.
“[The] ICMSA [has] also made me aware that there are cases where farmers are losing their derogation for minor issues. I have asked my officials to identify ways to reduce the likelihood of minor discrepancies leading to a farmer being excluded from the derogation,” he said.
The Minister said that the Department will be removing the requirement to submit end-of-year fertiliser accounts, as this information will be taken from the national fertiliser database.
“So, from 2024 the derogation application will become a one-step process.
“Within that process, my officials are also working to develop IT capacity to reduce the risk of other non-compliances arising due to minor clerical error,” he said.