The European Commission has agreed to Minister Creed's request that provision is made for a higher rate of advance payments under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and a number of Rural Development Schemes.
Following a submission to the EU Commission, the rate of advance payment payable under the BPS from 16th October has been increased from 50% to 70%.
In addition, the rate of advance payments under Rural Development schemes such as GLAS and the Sheep Welfare Scheme has been increased from 75% to 85%.
In relation to the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme, in particular, the Minister noted that the total budget for this scheme has increased again this year to €250m.
On foot of changes to EU Regulations, payments under the ANC Scheme will be made in two instalments this year; the initial instalment of 85% is scheduled to commence in mid-September as in previous years.
Balancing payments of 15% will then commence in early December.
“My Department will shortly be writing to all farmers, to outline to them the schedule of payments to be made under various schemes in the coming months." Minister Creed said.
IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has criticised the decision by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to hold back 15% of the 2019 ANC payments.
This will result in over €35m not getting to farmers until December.
“Normally, 100% payment is made in September. However, the Minister has decided to pay only 85% next month and hold the remaining 15% until Dec 1st."
"The Minister is hiding behind EU regulations; he could pay 100% to farmers and resolve any issues with the EU Commission afterwards,” he added.
Richard Kennedy said this is a blow to 100,000 farmers, who expected the full payment next month. “
IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady said Minister Creed gave a commitment at the IFA AGM in January that there would be 100% in September. “The Minister has reneged on this commitment at a time when livestock farmers, in particular, are facing huge income pressures."