Farm organisations have hit out at the Department of Agriculture after it proposed new payment dates for the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme and Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) from this year.

At a farmers’ charter of rights meeting on Thursday, the Department proposed pushing the ANC payment date back by one month from the week of the National Ploughing Championships to 17 October.

The BISS, which replaces the Basic Payment Scheme this year, is proposed to be paid on 24 October, a week later than usual.

The eco scheme, which is a new scheme which farmers apply for with the BISS, is proposed to issue on 31 October. Both the BPS and former greening payment have issued together in the past.


Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) president Dermot Kelleher has said pushing back the payment dates is unacceptable and has called on the Department of Agriculture to scrap its proposals.

“At today’s meeting of the farmers’ charter, the Department put forward a set of proposals that would mean the payment dates of certain schemes would be pushed back by up to a month.

Dermot Kelleher.

“Representatives from [the] ICSA made it very clear that any interfering with payment dates is unacceptable,” he said.


Kelleher said he was alarmed by a proposal to hold back ANC payments by four weeks and set a new payment date of mid-October.

“The September ANC payment is hugely important to farmers. It is a very busy and expensive time of the year for all families and farm families are no different.

"We in [the] ICSA can see no justification for withholding farmers’ income, particularly at a time when making ends meet has become more difficult than ever.”

The ICSA also expressed alarm at proposals to delay the BISS payment by one week. “Again, this will lead to unnecessary hardship for farmers, by meddling with traditional payment dates. This would be unacceptable for any worker in any sector and these proposals must be binned.”

Independent chair

Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) deputy president Brian Rushe completely rejected any proposed delay in farm payments under the new CAP and has called for an independent chair to oversee meaningful negotiations.

“What we had today with the Department was not a negotiation. We were basically presented with a proposed payment schedule and essentially it was a case of take it or leave it.

Brian Rushe.

“We need to go back to the drawing board here, appoint an independent chair to manage negotiations and first establish the core principles to underpin the new charter before we even get into the nitty gritty of any individual schemes.

“We fully appreciate the added complexity of the new CAP, for all involved, but it cannot always be the farmer who loses out. Farm schemes are just too important.

"The charter has proven it can work, for the mutual benefit of all, but we’ve started on the wrong foot here,” he said.

IFA rural development chair Michael Biggins said the proposal is not acceptable and that farmers’ rights are not being considered.

Knock-on effect

Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) president Vincent Roddy told the Irish Farmers Journal: “We have to make sure that farmers will get money as they always have in the past in the third week of September.”

Vincent Roddy. \ Philip Doyle

He warned that any delay in the ANC payments could potentially have a knock-on effect in the marts at a crucial time of the year.

New charter

A new farmers’ charter of rights has to be agreed between the farm organisations and the Department in the coming months.

The current charter, which was agreed in line with the CAP which ended in 2022, is now out of date.

The next meeting is to take place next month.