I am very aware of the significance to farmers and the wider rural economy of the payments that issue to farmers from my Department under a range of schemes. With this in mind, my Department continues to issue payments under these schemes, as a matter of priority.
Payments under the 2018 Areas of Natural Constraints scheme commenced, on schedule, during the week commencing 17th September and, to date, over €219m has issued to 91,190 farmers. Advance payments under the Basic Payment Scheme also commenced on schedule in mid October, and balancing payments commenced on schedule this week. To date a total of €1.12bn has issued to almost 121,000 farmers under the 2018 Scheme. At the end of October, payments commenced under Year 2 of the Knowledge Transfer Programme, and to date some €10 million has issued to over 15,000 farmers.
In November, 2018 advance payments for GLAS commenced. To date, 39,665 GLAS participants have received their 2018 advance payment. This amounts to almost €140m paid since payments commenced on 14 November and equates to 96% of eligible cases paid. Advance payment for the Sheep Welfare Scheme also issued on time at the end of November with €15.1 million paid to 18,600 participants.
In December, further payments will commence on schedule under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, the Organic Farming Scheme and the Protein Aid scheme. Payments under the TAMS II capital investment scheme are also continuing, with €94.8m paid in respect of 6,503 claims to date.
During the course of the year, my Department also put in place a number of targeted schemes in response to weather conditions and the associated fodder situation.
My Department continues to process payments under these schemes as a matter of priority, to ensure that these vital supports are delivered to farmers in the most timely and efficient manner possible.