Advance payments later in the year will not be delayed by inspections the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has said after receiving written clarification from the Department of Agriculture.
The clarification applies to the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme and the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), which are due to be paid out in September and October respectively.
Welcoming the news, INHFA president Colm O’Donnell stressed how essential the schemes, and prompt payment, were to farmers.
However, O’Donnell said it was unfortunate that many farmers did not receive their BPS payment in mid-October. He said it was often the inspection process that resulted in non-payment.
“This is an issue the INHFA have continually pressed the Department and we are delighted to see the measure that we outlined, of paying farmers their advance and resolving any issue through later payments, now being enacted,” he said.
He cautioned that there was still a possibility of ANC payments being delayed, as difficulties relating to stocking rates were a common cause of hold-ups.
The Department confirmed the advance payment rates would be 70% of the BPS and 85% of the ANC. The possibility of earlier payments is also being examined by the Department, O’Donnell said.
He stressed earlier payments could not be a substitute for additional support needed by primary producers.