The current support scheme for Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) forms part of the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020, providing a payment to farmers in constrained areas to compensate for part of the additional costs incurred and income forgone related to the constraints on agricultural production in the area. The Scheme is operating for the two years 2016 and 2017 (i.e. for claims made in 2015 and 2016). The Department is seeking views on options for potential future support to those farming in these areas after the 2016/17 year.
The Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen announced on 7 December 2016 that she would provide £8 million to fund a one year transitional scheme to support farmers in Areas of Natural Constraint. Subject to the outcome of the ongoing budget exercise, the funding will be met from within existing Departmental resources. The one year scheme will form part of the Rural Development Programme. Claims will be made to this transitional scheme in 2017 with payments made in 2018. This will be the last year of the Scheme.