IFA National Hill Farming Chair Caillin Conneely has called on Minister McConalogue to clarify when and how much farmers in Co-Operation zones can expect to be paid this year in ACRES.
‘We’re hearing there are some areas that still haven’t been scored. Farmers want to know what payments they can expect to get this year,” he said.
The list for Non-Productive Investments and Landscape Actions, a key payment for ACRES CP farmers, still isn’t open for application at this stage, so that’s a minimum €3,500 below what many farmers in ACRES CP areas would have expected and budgeted for this year.
‘Even for the land that has been scored, the Department need to give assurances that all will be verified and cleared for payment on time in November. Their new IT system hasn’t exactly proven itself fit for purpose so far between delays in ANC and TAMS approvals, as the Minister said last week. Whatever issues or potential bottlenecks are there need to be resolved sooner rather than later,” he said.
“Hill farmers have already been hit by close to a month’s delay in ANC payments, which was completely unacceptable. The store lamb trade is on its knees, costs remain stubbornly high, some rising, and many simply won’t be able to cope if ACRES or other payments don’t land on time,” he said.
“We need clarity, resolution and further targeted Budget intervention here quickly,” he concluded.