The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers have got written clarification from the Department of Agriculture Food & Marine (DAFM) that the inspection process will not delay the roll out of the advance payment for both the ANC and BPS Schemes.
In welcoming the clarification from the DAFM on this National President Colm O’Donnell stressed the importance of these schemes to farmers and how prompt payment is essential. For most farmers he stated “the third week in September which sees the commencement of these payments through the ANC Scheme is eagerly anticipated.”
Unfortunately, he added over the last number of years many farmers have not received that payment or their BPS payment in mid-October creating all sorts of financial stresses. When queried, it has often transpired that the inspection process is what resulted in these non-payments.”
This he continued “is an issue the INHFA have continually pressed the DAFM on 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.”
While very happy with this confirmation, the farm leader did caution “that there is a possibility that payments may still be held up especially for the ANC Scheme where difficulties relating to stocking rates can feature.”
In relation to inspections the DAFM also confirmed that in order to meet EU Commission requirements and ensure payments are issued on time they will have to commence inspections for the 2020 BPS. However, they have confirmed that no unannounced inspections will take place and where farmers with Covid 19 related issues have a farm inspection, they will be treated with sensitivity and on a case by case basis.
With regard to payment rates and timeframes O’Donnell outlined that the DAFM confirmed how they plan to make an advance payment on the BPS of 70% and on the ANC and other Pillar 2 Schemes of 85%. The time of these payments will be similar to previous years but they are examining the possibility of earlier payments.
In conclusion O’Donnell welcomed the possibility of earlier payments but stressed “that this cannot be a substitute for the additional support needed for primary producers.”