NI farmers to receive full Direct Payments in October for the first time

Farmers in Northern Ireland will, for the first time, receive their full Direct Payments this month, the region’s Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced.

Payments will begin to issue on Friday, October 16, 2020, when payments totalling £265.7 million are planned to go out. The figure accounts for over 94% of the total expected to be paid to farmers.

Payments include a linear increase of 4.3% applied to all Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlements in the 2020 scheme year. This increase is worth approximately £8 million in total or £330/farm.

Also Read: Poots announces 4.3% increase to BPS entitlements for 2020

Minister Poots said: “This has been a very challenging and difficult year for our farmers, with many experiencing significant financial difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Making full payments in October has only been possible because of Brexit and I’m committed to taking advantage of the benefits of leaving the EU to deliver for our farmers.

“Therefore, I’m pleased to announce that for the first time in Northern Ireland farmers will receive their full Direct Payments in one lump sum this year. This will be the largest payout of Direct Payments made by DAERA [The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs] on any single day.

“For the past number of years, Northern Ireland has had the best payment performance in the UK.

“By making full payments in October we continue to be ahead of every other part of the UK and now also ahead of all EU member states.”

The remaining applications will continue to be verified with payments being released daily thereafter.

Minister Poots added: “My officials are continuing to verify the remaining claims as a matter of urgency.

In addition, they have developed a new online Claim Tracking Service so farmers can track their Single Application through to payment. This is an indication of their continuing determination to assist farmers where possible.

Payment letters will be issued by post but can also be viewed online immediately at DAERA Online Services.

As full payments are being made in October there will no longer be additional part payments in December.

2020 payments

From 2020, Direct Payments in the UK will be paid in sterling. The exchange rate for 2020 remains the same as in 2019 at €1 = £0.89092.

The Greening percentage for the 2020 scheme year is 43.647186%.

The 2020 Young Farmers’ Payment will be paid at the rate of £77.04/ha (up to a limit to 90ha). This is an increase from 2019 rate of £44.68.

Payments will reach farmers’ bank accounts within five working days.