The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that the process of making advance CAP payments began on Monday of this week.
It is anticipated that payments will reach farmers’ bank accounts by tomorrow (Thursday 19 October 2017).
Further payments will be made on a daily basis throughout October. Balance payments, or full payments for those unable to receive an advance payment, will be made from 1 December 2017.
According to EU legislation, advance payments can be made on fully verified claims. Some weeks ago DAERA successfully obtained permission from the European Commission to make advance payments at 70% of claim value rather than 50%.
The Department remains the only organisation within the United Kingdom to make advance payments and is striving to make these to as many farm businesses as possible.
Commenting on the issue of eligibility for payment, a DAERA spokesperson said: “Farm businesses are eligible for an advance payment if they have submitted a valid Single Application and have no outstanding issues with their claim such as an outstanding inspection, over-declaration query, probate issues, or active farmer check.”
Payment letters have begun issuing and, in addition, DAERA will be making payment statements available online for the first time. Farmers and their agents will be able to view their own payment information online through DAERA Online Services.
Direct Payments in the UK are paid in sterling except where the farmer elects for payment in Euro by the deadline for submission of Single Applications. The exchange rate for 2017 is €1 = £0.89470.
The Ulster Farmers’ Union says it is pleased DAERA and the European Commission have responded positively to its call for an increase in advance CAP payments from 50 to 70 per cent. It says this will help with cash flow pressures as a result of poor weather.
UFU president Barclay Bell said: “We pushed hard for this increase in what has been a difficult year for weather-related problems. The prolonged periods of heavy rain, which resulted in serious flooding in some areas, have presented a number of challenges. Cattle have been housed earlier than usual, silage hasn’t been cut, slurry can’t be spread and harvest has been delayed. This has put a severe cash flow strain on many farm businesses.”