Under the new CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), the ANC scheme (Areas of Natural Constraints) aims to continue to support farmers to farmland designated as facing what the DAFM deems to be “significant hardships”, including poor soil conditions, remoteness, difficulty topography or climatic issues.
That is according to Mary Carey, principal officer of the Direct Payments Division at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, who spoke as part of its new CAP schemes webinar on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023.
She told viewers of the virtual information session that farmers should note there is “no change to areas designated as ANC land in 2023”.
“This applies to around 99,000 farmers, so it is a substantial payment for a lot of farmers. Also, there will be no change to payment rates in 2023, and payment will be made per eligible hectare.”
Also, there will be no change to the following animals counted in the stocking rate:
- Deer (subject to DAFM inspection);
- Donkeys (can only account for 50% of stocking rate requirement);
- Horses (requirement: breeding mares must have, as per the DAFM’s terms and conditions, bred a foal in the previous two years).
However, one notable change is that the minimum stocking rate requirement has reduced to 0.10 LU/ha (still equivalent to 1 ewe per hectare), as opposed to 0.15 LU/ha in previous years.
She explained that a stocking rate check will now be based on stock held on the farm in the previous year (2022 in this case), but farmers can opt to utilise their stocking rate levels this year (2023) in order to satisfy requirements.
Another key change for the ANC going forward relates to the retention period, which will be 28 weeks instead of 31 weeks in previous years.
Carey also informed farmers that a lower stocking requirement may apply where justified on environmental grounds/conditions.
In this case, a farmer’s authorised/appointed advisor must complete what is known as a Parcel Assessment Form, which is available through the DAFM’s website, to “give a basis for the lower or reduced stocking requirement”.
You can access your previous year’s stocking rate information through the DAFM’s website.
In brief – summary for readers:
- No change to designation of ANC lands and payment rates (rates depend on category and number of hectares);
- Reduced minimum stocking rate;
- Lower stock rate may apply – see note above;
- In most cases, you can use stocking rate from 2022 – see note regarding 2023;
- Roll-out of 2023 ANC payments expected in October 2023.
Previous farming news article on That’s Farming: