IFA deputy president Richard Kennedy welcomes ANC inclusions additional 873 Limerick townlands in the ANC scheme
MANY Limerick farmers got an early Christmas present when they heard the details of the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) review.
A total of 873 townlands in County Limerick have been added in the scheme formerly known as the Disadvantaged Areas scheme. The change means Limerick farmers will be eligible for an additional €3.5m grants next year. A third of all county farmers are expected to benefit.
IFA deputy president and Clarina dairy farmer, Richard Kennedy welcomed the inclusion of an additional 873 Limerick townlands in the ANC scheme for 2019. It represents 40% of the total additional areas included across all 26 counties.
“It was only right that the Department of Agriculture has included these areas, which were unfairly excluded in the past.
“The ANC scheme has been a vital support for farmers in Ireland since the 1970s. It’s high time that these Limerick townlands were included in the scheme. In real terms what it means that of the 6,000 farmers in Limerick, an additional 2,000 of them will now be eligible to avail of this support,” said Mr Kennedy.
Deputy Tom Neville said it will greatly benefit farmers across the county.
“Limerick has been the big winner here with a major increase in the townlands across the county being included.
“Farmers took heavy cuts in direct support during the recession and schemes such as this will go some way in continuing to help our natural resource,” said Deputy Neville.
Minster Patrick O’Donovan said he welcomed the inclusion of so many townlands in Limerick in the designation of ANC. “I've worked very closely with the Minister for Agriculture and the farming organisations over the last number of years and a constant concern has been the area of County Limerick designated by the ANC Scheme. So this increased amount of townlands will I believe be very welcomed by those impacted”.
From 2019, eligible areas must instead be designated using the following list of bio-physical criteria: low temperature, dryness, excess soil moisture, limited soil drainage, unfavourable texture and stoniness, shallow rooting depth, poor chemical properties and steep slope.
Large swatches of east Limerick have been accommodated in the review. Former councillor and ICMSA man, John Egan welcomed the reclassification of large parts of the county.
“Practically all of my parish of Murroe-Boher is in it, as is Cappamore and Doon. It is very positive news for farmers,” said Mr Egan.
In the current scheme, over 95,000 farmers across the country receive total payments of €227m - an additional €25m for the 2018 scheme is included in this figure. This figure will increase to €250m in 2019 on foot of Budget 2019.
Mr Kennedy said the IFA will be seeking a further increase in the ANC allocation to bring it to €300m per annum.
He concluded by saying that the appeals system announced by the Minister will have to give every opportunity for farmers in those areas excluded to make a strong case based on natural handicaps, primarily high rainfall, which impacts on farm income.