County Louth farmers are set to benefit from €959,386 in funding under the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme.
The funding is set to benefit 75,000 farmers across the nation with total funding exceeding €170 million.
Deputy O'Dowd said: “This funding will benefit 572 farmers across the County. I would like to thank my Fine Gael colleague, Minister Michael Creed for fighting hard to make this possible.
“Farmers, especially on the hills and in the disadvantaged areas, took heavy cuts in direct support during the recession and the funding for this year will go some way to rectifying that.
“The Agriculture and Food sector is a strategic priority for Fine Gael. We recognise that farm families are the heartbeat of the rural economy and our vision for the sector will inspire the next generation to continue the tradition of family farming,” O'Dowd said.
Minister Creed said: "The ANC Scheme is an important support for farmers in many regions of the country, and I am delighted to announce that payments have now started to issue. My Department will continue to process remaining cases for payment as a matter of urgency over the coming weeks.
The Minister also noted that the value and number of payments issuing in the first tranche is significantly increased on the 2016 figure, when €140 million issued to 65,000 farmers.
"These figures underscore my determination to maximise payments to farmers in the most timely manner possible.
“In addition, the increased uptake on online applications under the 2017 ANC and BPS schemes continues to bring benefits for farmers and my Department in terms of more efficient processing of applications. This trend will continue as we move towards 100% online applications from 2018," Minister Creed said.