The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has confirmed that an advance of the Single Farm Payment (SFP) will be made in mid-October.

Responding to a parliamentary question in the Dail this week Minister Coveney stated that he can confirm that advance payments valued at over €500 million will commence on 16th October.

He said the Department will make every effort to maximise the number of applicants cleared for payment on that date and will continue regular payment runs for cases as they are fully processed for payment thereafter. As in previous years the balancing payment will commence on 1st December.

The timing of the Single Farm Payment is of critical importance to farmers and the wider rural economy, given that it represents in excess of €1.2 billion of the €1.6 billion that is paid out annually in direct aid.

The Minister commented: “The SFP forms a significant part of the annual income of farmers in Ireland, in many cases it is used to subsidise the running costs of the farming enterprise and is, therefore, greater than the net farm income in those cases. I am particularly conscious of the need to improve the cash flow on these farms.

The announcement comes following heavy lobbing by the IFA President Eddie Downey of Minister for Agriculture, to make a strong case to the EU Commission for a 100% payout of the Single Farm Payment in mid-October due to the income crisis in the livestock and tillage sectors.