Over 95% of farmers in the North have received their Basic Payment monies

A total of 96% farmers in the North have received their Basic Payment monies, the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Michelle McIlveen announced.

This represents a record Basic Payment performance in December by the department, the Minister said.

Minister McIlveen had previously set a target of processing payments to 95% of eligible applicants by the end of December.

However, the department has delivered 22,594 full or balancing payments, worth £92.8m (€109.9m), to 96% of eligible farmers in December.

Meanwhile, CAP Payments worth £250.9m (€297.1m) have been issued for the 2016 scheme year so far, figures show.

Minister McIlveen believes these payments will make a significant difference to farmers, following a very difficult year in the industry.

I am particularly pleased to confirm that the majority of businesses subject to inspection have been paid in December.

With regards to the CAP schemes, both the Basic Payment and the Greening Payment are being paid, while a successful application for the Young Farmers’ Payment is also paid once it has been confirmed.

Balancing payments are issued to farmers who received an advance and full payments are being issued to those who did not.

The payments made also incorporate deductions made under the financial discipline mechanism to provide funds for the 2017 EU Agricultural Crisis Reserve.

The increased number of applications submitted through DAERA’s online system in 2016 allowed for more claims to be processed earlier, the Minister said.

Minister McIlveen believes the online system is the way forward and will continue to improve payment performance in Northern Ireland.

“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,” she said.

Basic Payment Scheme in the Republic of Ireland

The next instalment of payments under the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme and Greening were scheduled to commence in the Republic of Ireland on December 1.

Since mid-October farmers have been issued with 70% advance payments under the Basic Payment Scheme, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The rollout of balancing payments brings the total paid under the Basic Payment Scheme to €1.12 billion, while 121,000 farmers have received a payment to date.