McIlveen announces start of issuing of £79.4million in Basic Payments

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Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced that Basic Payments totalling £79.4million have been issued today.

December 1 marks the beginning of the full payment period for 2016 CAP Schemes, with 21,372 payments issued. This represents 91% of eligible farmers.

Miss McIlveen said: “When I was appointed as Minister of Agriculture in May this year, I was aware that many farmers were experiencing financial difficulties and I was determined to introduce advance payments for the first time in Northern Ireland to help our farmers.

“Following the success of advance payments, I am pleased to announce that 21,372 payments have been issued to farmers on Day 1 of the full payment period and will reach farmers’ bank accounts from next Tuesday (December 6). After a very difficult year for the industry, this will make a significant difference to our farmers. 3,540 more payments are being issued on Day 1 this year, than was the case last year.”

Miss McIlveen has set a target of processing payments to 95% of eligible applicants by the end of December.

The CAP schemes being paid are the Basic Payment and the Greening Payment. Where a successful application for the Young Farmers’ Payment has been confirmed, this will also be paid. Balance payments are being issued to farmers who received an advance and full payments are being issued to those who did not. The payments made will incorporate deductions made under the financial discipline mechanism to provide funds for the 2017 EU Agricultural Crisis Reserve.

The Minister noted that the increased number of applications submitted through DAERA’s online system had allowed more claims to be processed earlier.

She added: “I hope that even more farmers will recognise the benefits of applying online and help us to further improve on payment performance in the future.”