IFA's Joe Healy tells hill farm forum ANC payments must be made in 2018

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Budget will be a major test for Government says IFA President

IFA president, Joe Healy

ANC payments secured by the IFA under the Programme for Government must be paid out to farmers in 2018, IFA president Joe Healy told the association's Hill Farming Forum held in Connemara.

He said hill farmers must benefit from this budget increase as they were the farmers who lost out most in the 2009 cuts.

Mr Healy said most hill and mountain lands were designated as SAC or SPA, which meant farmers in these areas had severe restrictions imposed on them, which impacted on their ability to farm and generate income.

He said that hill farmers provided vital public goods in the form of landscape management, biodiversity and environmental improvements across large areas of hill and mountain lands and farmers were entitled to be paid for these services.

IFA National Hill Committee chairman Pat Dunne said that despite the fact that Minister Creed has sought to delay the review of ANCs, the Government must ensure that payments reflect the natural disadvantage.

He said the 2015 Teagasc National Farm survey clearly highlights the low incomes from hill sheep farming.