Direct Payments issued to 99% of farmers on day one

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Full or balance direct payments have commenced with 99% (23,609) of farmers in Northern Ireland having their payment released this week, bringing the total issued since October to £281million.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) paid out £85.6million, on day one of the December window, in addition to the £195.4million previously issued in advance in October/November.

A DAERA spokesman said on Monday of this week: “Today, 99% of farm businesses will receive their full or balanced payments on day one of the payment window – a record breaking achievement. This included 95% of farm businesses subject to land inspections.

“Payments will begin to reach farm business bank accounts from 5 December 2019. The Department continues to work hard to pay the remaining claims as quickly as possible.”

Payment letters have also been issued and are available through DAERA’s online portal.

Balance payments can only be made on fully verified claims. Full payments will be made to those with fully verified claims who could not receive an Advance Payment at that time.

As the Department had obtained permission from the European Commission to make advance payments at 70% of claim value, balance payments will comprise the remaining 30% of claim value.

In most years direct payments account for up to 89% of the income generated on local farms.

Meanwhile in the Republic of Ireland, The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D., confirmed that the balancing payments under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening have now commenced.

The commencement of the BPS balancing payments now brings the total paid under the 2019 Scheme to date to €1.14bn to over 120,000 farmers.  The Minister commented: “In mid-October my Department began issuing 70% advance payments under the BPS to farmers across the country.  This year saw 94% of eligible farmers receiving an advance payment in the first pay run.  Regular pay runs have been in place since October, and I am happy to confirm that the 30% balancing payments under the BPS have now commenced on schedule.”

The Minister also confirmed that payments under the 2019 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme will also commence alongside payment of the 2019 BPS balancing payment. 

The Minister commented: “My Department continues to issue payments across a range of schemes at a rate which compares very favourably to the systems in place in other Member States.  I am very conscious that these payments provide a significant financial boost for individual farmers and the wider rural economy.”