Thousands of Young Farmers Scheme payments remain outstanding, according to latest figures from the Department of Agriculture.

It says under the Young Farmers Scheme there are some 4,500 applications fully processed for payment. However, in the region of 3,500 applications are still being processed.

As previously stated, payments under the Young Farmers Scheme did not commence until mid-December. The Department says this was to allow for the successful delivery of the Basic Payment and other Schemes and will continue, based on regular payment runs.

“These outstanding cases involve complex issues will take some time to work through,” the Department said in a statement.

The Department says the prioritisation of these other schemes has worked with a total 121,000 farmers paid €1,080m to date under the BPS/Greening and 92,000 farmers paid €200m under ANCs.

It says the Department will now focus on clearing the Young Farmer/National Reserve cases.

The Department says it will continue to process the payment of eligible cases under the Young Farmers Scheme to ensure that payment is made as soon as possible but it will take some weeks to complete the cases.

“Where the Department has contacted an applicant seeking further information or documentation to further process their application, these applicants are encouraged to engage with the Department to ensure that their application can be finalised and to return any necessary documentation or provide clarification,” it said.

Macra National President Seán Finan has highlighted the anger and frustration of young farmers across the country due to the delays experienced in processing of payments by the Dept of Agriculture. Macra na Feirme met Minister Coveney last week to discuss issues around payment delays to young farmers.

Speaking about the delay in making payments to young farmers, Finan said the delays experienced by young farmers are ‘totally unacceptable’ and ‘not good enough’.

“The delays are causing considerable hardship for the young farmers affected,” he said.