Irish euro notes and coins© Christian Ohde/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Irish farmers have started to receive payments under the country’s 2016 Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme and Areas of Specific Constraint (Islands) Scheme, worth more than €140m (£119m) to almost 65,000 individuals. 

The two schemes form a central part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme, compensating producers for the significant hardships they face in farming more challenging lands.

“These payments represent a significant and timely financial boost for farmers and for the wider rural economy,” said Irish agriculture minister Michael Creed.

“My department will continue to clear remaining cases for payment over the coming weeks as a matter of priority.”

See also: Deadline looms for Countryside Stewardship

As in previous years, some applications have been delayed – mainly due to farmers failing to satisfy the annual average stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per forage hectare. 

However, farmers have until 31 December to do so and regular pay runs will continue in the coming weeks to ensure cleared cases are processed for payment as quickly as possible.

BPS on the way

The minister also confirmed arrangements are on target to facilitate the 70% advance of Basic Payment Scheme monies with effect from 17 October.

In contrast, farmers in the UK will not receive any 2016 BPS money until the payment window opens in December – though the RPA has said it will deliver 90% of it in England by the end of the year.

It is also understood about 200 English farmers are yet to receive any payment in respect of their 2015 BPS claims, due to things such as probate cases.

The RPA is also expected to notify some farmers soon they have been overpaid for 2015 and may now face deductions.