Vote in favour of ANC payments is a positive outcome, says UFU

Thursday, 5 March, 2020

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) have endorsed the Northern Ireland Assembly’s voting results with the majority in favour of DAERA Minister Edwin Poots, implementing a new areas of natural constraint (ANC) scheme. The vote took place at Stormont yesterday on ANC payments which came to an end in 2018. The UFU have continually called for the reinstatement of the ANC scheme, most recently at the Northern Ireland Assembly AERA Committee.

Commenting in response to the vote, UFU deputy president David Brown said, “The Northern Ireland Assembly’s vote in favour of ANC payments is a positive outcome. For more than three years, the absence of local Government and Ministers at Stormont has stalled many much-needed strategic decisions including matters of financial support such as ANC payments. This has had a serious impact on our farmers in severely disadvantage areas (SDAs). Spring is a costly time of year for all farms and it's even more expensive for farms in severely disadvantaged areas who face extra challenges. Cold weather and wet conditions restrict grass growth and stock turnout, creating additional feeding costs. This is why ANC payments are so important for cash flow highlighting the urgency for a new ANC scheme to be put in place. Following the voting outcome, we would like to see DAERA working towards a solution that would provide direct support for vulnerable sectors going forward.

“Only weeks ago DAERA’s figures on farm income stressed how agriculture revenue for farmers in SDAs has continued to fall becoming totally unviable. To add to this, the market is not delivering a margin for primary producers especially those in SDA areas. Suckler beef cow numbers are at their lowest since 1988 and breeding ewe numbers are also declining which is concerning. It is vital that the DAERA Minister takes the result of this vote and recent farming statistics on board so that SDA farmers and all vulnerable sectors get the support they require to sustain their farming business and receive better returns.”