ICSA Rural Development chair Tim Farrell has called on the Department of Agriculture to do whatever it takes to ensure farmers receive all outstanding payments due to them without further delay. “Countless farmers are yet to receive their ANC or BISS payments – with the majority of whom having received no forewarning that there would be a hold up in their payments,” he said.
Mr Farrell said it is not good enough to leave farmers in the lurch when so many are totally dependant on these payments. “Lower income farmers, particularly in the sheep, beef, and suckler sectors cannot cope without these payments. Bills need to be paid and supplies need to be got in for the winter but so many have just been left in limbo; left waiting and waiting for the department to get around to dealing with their case.”
At the last sitting of the Farmers Charter of Rights, held in Portlaoise on 1 November, ICSA secured a commitment from the Department of Agriculture that payment dates for ANC and BISS will revert to their traditional time slots for 2024. For next year, ANC payments will commence once again in the third week of September, while BISS payments will commence on 16 October.
“ICSA also received a commitment that all administrative queries will be issued by end of September. This will certainly alleviate some of the difficulties we have seen this year with farmers having no idea there was an issue with their payment until after the due date. It is however unacceptable that so many are still waiting for payment with very little recourse to having their issues resolved.”
“ICSA is aware that department personnel are having to deal with new administrative systems, but payment dates were rescheduled earlier in the year to cope with that. Despite considerable opposition from ICSA and other farming organisations ANC payments were put back by four weeks and BISS payments by two weeks. This should have provided adequate time for payments to be made on time – albeit on their rescheduled dates. It’s just not good enough that farmers must endure delays on already delayed payments. The department needs to do whatever it takes to get this mess sorted.”