O’Neill announces record single farm payments performance

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Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced that Single Farm Payments totalling £223.5million have been issued today, representing 91.3% of claims being finalised.

Today marks the beginning of the payment period for the 2014 Single Farm Payment, with 27,000 payments being issued. Minister O’Neill has set a target of 93% of payments to be made in the month of December.

Announcing the beginning of payments Minister O’Neill said:“I am delighted to announce that a record payment performance has been achieved so early in the payment period. Over 27,000 payments have been issued to farmers on Day 1 and will reach farmers’ bank accounts on Thursday 4 December. After a difficult year for the industry, this will make a real difference to farmers’ cash flows.”

Noting the Department’s achievements at the beginning of the payment period and how the increase in submitting claims via DARD’s online system enabled more payments to be made earlier the Minister said:“I am particularly pleased that my Department has taken steps to make faster payments, by more than trebling the volume of payments issued on Day 1. In May I announced a target of 93% for the month of December, to include 500 cases subject to inspection via Control with Remote Sensing. I am confident that my Department will achieve this.

“The increase in the number of claims made via DARD’s online system in 2014 has contributed to this record payment performance. I hope that more farmers will now see the benefits of applying online and help us to improve further in the years ahead.

“I would strongly encourage farmers to go online themselves or ask their agent or form filler to complete the claim online on their behalf. It’s a good way to avoid mistakes compared with paper and crucially it will speed up payments to farmers overall. The telephone number in order to obtain the Government Gateway ID and password is (028) 9442 6699 and my staff will be happy to assist farmers or agents who enquire.”