IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has said that with direct payments due to commence over the next month, IFA is insisting that there are no delays in the payment of more than €1.6bn to farmers in this most difficult year for the agricultural sector.
At a meeting with the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise, Richard Kennedy said the timelines outlined in the Farmer Charter of Rights must be rigidly observed this year. ANC payments, which commence in the week beginning 19th September, must have a higher payout than last year. Up to 100,000 farmers benefit from ANC payments to the tune of €205m.
In relation to the BPS, the Department has confirmed to IFA that the advance payment of 70% will commence on Monday 17th October. This is in recognition of the very difficult income position on farms in 2016. IFA expects the speed of payment this year to better last year as the new system arising from CAP reform is well bedded down now. IFA will be insisting that any inspection cases must not hold up payments.
With more than 38,000 farmers in GLAS, full year payments worth €167m must be paid out from October. IFA has been informed that payments will be paid in two phases – 85% followed shortly after by the remaining 15%, the IFA Deputy President said.
At the meeting with the Department IFA also discussed the ANC review. IFA insisted that all factors be taken into account in the review, not just natural handicap criteria. The income position of farmers must be a factor as low income farmers depend greatly these payments which recognise the difficult situation many farmers have to endure.
Richard Kennedy called on Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to protect existing areas and pitch payments levels that recognise the various difficult land types.