SINCE 1975, the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme has been used by the EU to help farmers who strive to earn a living in areas with poor and difficult land to work.
The funding for the scheme has always been shared between the EU and the Irish Exchequer. At the time of the economic crash in 2008, the Irish government reduced its contribution, which resulted in cuts to the maximum payments received by farmers in those areas. In recent times, the scheme has been renamed the ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) Scheme.
A full review of the scheme is taking place this year and new criteria for inclusion in it are being introduced. There is a possibility that some who previously benefitted from the scheme could find themselves excluded, while others could find themselves included for the first time.
The Department of Agriculture is currently working on a new mapping system for designating eligible areas according to the new criteria. These maps must be submitted to Brussels by this summer. The IFA is currently holding a series of meetings around the country where the issues involved can be fully explained and discussed.
The meeting for West Cork will take place in Westlodge Hotel in Bantry on Monday next, March 20th, at 8.30pm with a number of guest speakers. It is vital that farmers turn up in large numbers.