New record for Northern Ireland CAP payments
A record 97% of farmers in Northern Ireland have received their full or balance CAP payments in time for Christmas.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said the figure was a new record – up from the 96% which had been paid this time last year.
The payments, totalling £95 million (€107 million) were issued to around 23,400 farm businesses.
The department completed advance payments in October 2017; Northern Ireland was the only region granted permission to pay farmers a 70% advance on this year’s CAP payments.
The department made a particular effort to issue payments to businesses affected by the flooding in late August 2017, with 98% of the affected businesses receiving payment in December.
A total of £277 million (€313.4 million) in CAP payments has been issued in 2017 – an increase of £27 million (€30.5 million) on 2016 payments.
The department said this record number of payments has been made possible due to the significant increase in the number of farmers submitting their application online. This year 99% of applications were made online.
The number of businesses subject to a land inspection and which received a December payment has increased from 959 in 2016 to 1,471 in 2017.
The exchange rate for 2017 payments is 89p for every euro. The exchange rate brought a boost of around 5% or £13 million (€14.6 million) to the combined value of Basic Payments.
Direct Payments in the UK are paid in sterling except where the farmer elects for payment in euro by the deadline for applications.