Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC)

Information last updated May 19th, 2023

All details are taken from the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine ‘Schemes & Payments’ section located here.
Please check this section for the latest information and updates relating to Farm Schemes & Payments.

What is the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme? 

The Areas of Natural Constraints scheme provides payments to people farming land in designated areas that face significant hardships from factors such as remoteness, difficult topography, climatic problems and poor soil conditions.

Support is provided based on the following categories of land:

  • Category 1 land: The system of farming is characterised by extensive farming practices focused on livestock management on higher ground.
  • Category 2 land: The system of farming is characterised by extensive livestock grazing practices on lower ground.
  • Category 3 land: The system of farming is less extensive in nature and characterised by grazing livestock enterprises.
  • Offshore island land: Island holdings are generally small and fragmented where the potential for intensification is limited and farming is economically marginal, at best. Farming on the off-shore islands off Ireland is in continuous decline.

How to Qualify

To qualify for the Areas of Natural Constraints and the Areas of Specific Constraint schemes, you must:

• Submit a BISS application each year declaring the ANC land located within the jurisdiction of Ireland and apply for ANC

• maintain a minimum stocking density of 0.10 livestock units per forage hectare for 28 consecutive weeks months within the calendar year

• maintain an annual average stocking density of 0.10 livestock units per forage hectare for the calendar year

  • The minimum stocking requirement will be based on an applicant’s stocking profile in 2022. 
  • Where an applicant did not satisfy the minimum stocking requirement in 2022, they can choose to use their stocking profile in 2023 instead.
  • Applicants with sheep or goats must have submitted a valid Sheep or Goat Census return within specified timelines.
  • Tillage lands, which are payable in designated areas under the scheme, are not subject to or considered in the calculation of stocking requirements.

The following animals are eligible: 

  • Cattle
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Horses
  • Donkeys
  • Deer

Rates of Payment

Land CategoryArea2021 Rate
Category 11st 12 ha€148
Category 113-14 ha €112
Category 21st 10 ha€111
Category 211-30 ha €104
Category 31st 8 ha€93
Category 3 9- 30 ha€88.25

Areas of Specific Constraint – Island Farming

Payment RatesPayable Area
€250Up to and including first 20 hectares
€170Greater than 20 hectares or less than or equal to 34 hectares
€70Greater than 34 hectares or less than or equal to 40 hectares
For the full list of eligible townlands by county please click here.

How to Apply

You apply for the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme as part of the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) application.

A farmer may submit their own application in conjunction with their BISS application, if they so wish, or they can employ a FAS approved advisor to do so on their behalf.

To apply online, login or register at

You must apply by midnight on 29 May 2023.


Areas of Natural Constraints

Address: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Government Buildings, Old Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, R32 PRA6

Email: [email protected]

Phone number: +353 (0) 57 86 74422

Terms and Conditions

For the full Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme Terms and Conditions please click here.