John Hanley, Roscommon IFA County Chairperson has outlined to TDs and Senators the key priorities for the ongoing review of Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC), including protection for all areas of the county and increased payments for those farming in these marginal areas.
Mr. Hanley said it is crucial that funding the ANC Scheme is increased in Budget 2018 in order to restore the allocation to what it was prior to cuts imposed in response to the economic downturn in Budget 2009. He said this would require an increase from the current funding level of €205m to €250m.
He said: “Cuts made in 2009 meant farmers in marginal areas endured reductions of up to €1,000 – a very significant amount for farmers on low incomes. The restoration of these cuts is long overdue and Government must ensure this forms part of the ANC review. Direct payments such as ANCs are crucial to sustain farming on marginal land and they play a critical role in supporting rural economies in peripheral areas.”
Mr. Hanley insisted that, following the review, ANC payment rates must reflect the natural disadvantage to ensure farmers with the land most difficult to farm receive a payment that reflects their higher costs of production.