Seven-month rule here to stay for ANC payments
The seven-month rule for retaining animals for ANC payments will remain in force, the Department of Agriculture told the farm organisations last week.
The Department confirmed at Farmer Charter meetings with the farm organisations that ANC applicants must hold a stated level of stock for seven consecutive months.
Problems encountered in relation to ANC applications usually involve applicants not meeting the minimum stocking rate or not retaining the animals for the consecutive seven-month period.
The Department also confirmed to farmer representative that use of donkeys and horses to meet required stocking rate densities is being phased out.
More than 1,500 farmers used horses and donkeys last year to meet the requirement to retain stocking rates at a minimum of 0.15LU per eligible forage hectare.
The current terms and conditions for the ANC scheme indicate that the use of equines as a means of meeting stocking density criteria will be phased out from 2020. This was confirmed by the Department last week. The ANC Scheme has been significantly revamped following a review.
This resulted in 700 townlands being removed from the scheme, while close to 2,000 townlands qualify for support for the first time in 2019.
Under the current scheme, over 95,000 farmers will receive total payments of €250m in 2019 - an increase of €23m on 2018. The final detail of the new scheme is subject to EU Commission agreement.