The latest scheme payments update released by the Department of Agriculture for the week ending 8 December shows there was a further €7.2m paid to 1,374 farmers under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC).

This brings the total payment under the 2023 ANC to €241.7m paid to 96,366 applicants.

The increased weekly payment rate is influenced by more farmers satisfying the minimum stocking rate requirements.

In excess of 99,000 farmers have typically received an ANC payment in recent years, meaning there is still in the region of 3,000 farmers who have yet to receive their payment.

Other payments

There were a number of other scheme payments this week.

Payments under the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) and the Complementary Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS) have resumed after a three-week pause.

Payments now stand at €766.5m paid to 114,684 applicants. This payment figure also includes €19.6m paid under the 2023 Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers and €1.3m under the 2023 national reserve.

Payments under the eco scheme have not been updated for this week, but remain ongoing on a weekly basis.

Dairy beef

There was also €5m paid to 7,966 farmers under the National Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme 2023. Payment is set at €20 per eligible calf up to a maximum of 50 calves per herd or a maximum payment of €1,000/herd.

This is significantly ahead of the €3.58m paid to 6,451 farmers in 2022.

Approximately €8.6m was paid to 1,355 farmers under the 2023 Protein Aid Scheme. Again, this represents a significant increase on the figure of €3.24m paid to 951 farmers in 2022.

In addition, €0.1m was paid to 92 farmers under the 2023 protein or cereal mix aspect of the scheme.

Organic Farming Scheme

A total of €32,873,834 was paid to 3,215 farmers under the 2023 Organic Farming Scheme (OFS). This equates to an average payment of some €10,225 per applicant.

The sharp increase in participation, with almost 4,000 farmers now in the OFS, has witnessed payments increase majorly from €12.1m in 2022.

Payments to remaining farmers will be sanctioned once any queries are cleared. For example, to receive payment under OFS, an applicant must have received their BISS.

Other payment delays include a small number of applicants still to complete the 25-hour training course, along with a small number of Department IT issues also to sort.