Areas of Natural Constraint (ANCs)

The ‘Areas of Natural Constraint’ (ANC) Scheme provides a payment for eligible land in disadvantaged areas.

ANCs are divided into mountain areas, severely handicapped, and less severely handicapped areas. The Scheme provides payments on a per-hectare basis for those farming these areas.

Applications closed – May 15th 2020


Applications to avail of the ANC scheme were made through the 2015 Basic Payment application. Once you indicated on your BPS application that you wish to apply for ANC payment, the LPIS system then identified whether the areas are in the Areas of Natural Constraint or not.

The areas designated as ANC are the same as those designated under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, with the exception of land situated on offshore islands, pending  a review of the areas by 2018. In the meantime, there is no change to the areas which cover approximately 75% of the country.

In order to be eligible for payment, the land in question must be available to the applicant for the entire calendar year. Land farmed by the applicant on the basis of 11-month conacre agreements is also eligible for payment under the ANC Scheme.

To be eligible for payment an applicant must:

  • undertake to farm, manage and pursue a farming activity on all land applied in 2015, for the full calendar year and to adhere to the definition of an “active farmer”
  • have a holding that meets the minimum stocking levels (0.15 livestock units)

In addition to satisfying the eligibility requirement, land entitled to benefit from payment under the scheme must have an agricultural activity carried out on it and the land must be used and farmed by the applicant. Parcels, including commonage parcels must be maintained in such a condition as to ensure the land is suitable for grazing or cultivation.

‘Top-up’ payments are made to Areas of Specific Constraints (Islands). In order to qualify land must be situated on an off-shore island with no permanent access to the mainland.


Payments will commence in the third week of September each year with a target of 100% payment in respect of cleared cases.

Read full terms and conditions of the 2020 scheme