INHFA: ‘We must ad­dress im­bal­ance in ANC scheme’

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - CLAIRE FOX

INHFA is call­ing for “a fair and trans­par­ent re­view” of the ANC (Ar­eas of Nat­u­ral Con­straints) scheme and in­sisted that farm­ers with the high­est level of con­straint must be com­pen­sated ap­pro­pri­ately when set­ting rates per hectare.

It is un­der­stood that the 2019 ANC scheme will cost an ad­di­tional €9m be­cause of the in­creased area cov­ered by the scheme.

Close to 2,000 new town­lands have been des­ig­nated as ANCs un­der the re­cent re­view, with 700 town­lands be­ing taken out of the scheme. The re­movals will im­pact around 760 farm­ers.

INHFA pres­i­dent Colm O’Don­nell told the Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent that it plans to hold a na­tional rally on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 7 to call for a fairer al­lo­ca­tion of ANC pay­ments to farm­ers.

“The cur­rent method­ol­ogy in set­ting the level of com­pen­sa­tion based on Stan­dard Out­put (SO) per hectare doesn’t re­flect fairly the sever­ity of ar­eas with mul­ti­ple bio­phys­i­cal con­straints,” Mr O’Don­nell said.

“This re­view of the ANC was in part called for be­cause of the un­equal treat­ment of some farm­ers in re­ceipt of com­pen­satory pay­ments in the scheme and the re­view must now fi­nally ad­dress this im­bal­ance. Our po­si­tion is to re­tain the Moun­tain Graz­ing area (MSG) as the Pri­or­ity 1 cat­e­gory with mean­ing­ful tar­get­ing that re­flects the sever­ity of the mul­ti­ple con­straints ex­pe­ri­enced in these ar­eas.”

Mean­while, ICMSA deputy pres­i­dent Lor­can McCabe called for the next stages of the im­ple­men­ta­tion process of the ANC re­view to be car­ried INHFA pres­i­dent Colm O’Don­nell: ‘un­equal treat­ment’

out as soon as pos­si­ble and farm­ers in­formed of their in­di­vid­ual po­si­tion.

“The De­part­ment con­firmed that no­ti­fi­ca­tions will be sent this week to all farm­ers who were in the ANC in 2018 and who are also in­cluded in 2019… Those farm­ers who have been in­cluded for the first time and those ex­cluded will also be no­ti­fied of their sta­tus in the com­ing week, along with the ap­peals process which is hugely im­por­tant for these farm­ers,” Mr McCabe said.

Des­ig­nated

The De­part­ment has con­firmed to ICMSA that the ANC ap­peals process will be open to all farm­ers whether their land was pre­vi­ously des­ig­nated or not.

“Farm­ers who wish to ap­peal need to know their bio-phys­i­cal cri­te­ria re­sults quickly, so they can de­ter­mine if an ap­peal is likely to suc­ceed. It is es­sen­tial that the De­part­ment pro­vide farm­ers with the re­quired in­for­ma­tion and that the ap­peals process is fair and rea­son­able,” Mr McCabe said.

Close to 100,000 farm­ers qual­ify for the ANC scheme, with to­tal pay­ments for 2019 due to in­crease to €250 mil­lion. See farmire­land.ie

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