Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (746)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

746. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address a matter regarding farm payments in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24148/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under the current Rural Development Regulation (and subsequent amendments under the Omnibus Regulation), Member States were required to change the approach to the designation of land under the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme.  Previously, my Department had been identifying eligible areas using a range of socio-economic indicators such as family farm income, population density, percentage of working population engaged in agriculture and stocking density.  From 2019, eligible areas must instead be designated using a defined list of bio-physical criteria such as slope, soil texture, soil rooting depth, soil moisture and drainage. 

 The outcome of the ANC redesignation project can be summarised as follows.  The vast majority of land, including the townland of Rathscannel (H14013), which was eligible under the existing ANC Scheme has remained eligible under the new approach.  In addition, over 2,000 townlands will now be newly eligible under the new approach and will be eligible to receive a payment for the first time under the 2019 ANC scheme.  Some 700 townlands, including the townland of Ballyhenry (H14005), which would have previously been eligible are no longer eligible under the new designation.  Farmers impacted financially by this change, including the person named, will receive a degressive phasing out payment in 2019 and 2020.

Further to the completion of the redesignation process in December 2018, my Department wrote to all farmers holding ANC lands advising them of the status of these lands under the 2019 ANC scheme and advised of their right to appeal this position.  Where a farmer notified my Department of their wish to make such an appeal, they have been provided with all relevant information in relation to the data underpinning the status of the specified townland in order that an appeal to the independently chaired Appeals Committee can be based on full information. 

My Department has received no such appeals notification from the person named in respect of the townland of Ballyhenry (H14005).  The closing date for receipt of such appeals notifications was 8 April 2019.