Balance payments to get underway

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DAERA has announced that balance and full CAP payments have started to issue.

Earlier this week the Department announced that it would start the process from yesterday (Friday 1 December).

It is anticipated that payments will begin to reach farmers’ bank accounts from Wednesday 6 December 2017.

Payments will be made on a daily basis throughout December.

Payments can only be made on fully verified claims. Therefore, balance payments will be made to farmers who received an advance payment in October and full payments will be made to those with verified claims who could not receive an advance.

As the Department had obtained permission from the European Commission to make advance payments at 70% of claim value, balance payments will comprise the remaining 30% of claim value.

Payment letters have begun issuing and, in addition, DAERA is making payment statements available online. Farmers and their agents will be able to view their own payment information online through DAERA Online Services.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says that the issuing of balance and full CAP payments from 1st December will be a big boost to those farmers facing cash flow issues this winter.

UFU deputy president, Ivor Ferguson, added: “It is our understanding that virtually all of these payments will be issued during the first week of December.

“Also, a considerable number of inspections cases have been cleared and many of those who did not receive an advance payment in October will now be paid in full. This will be a big relief to those farmers, especially after months of wet weather and increased winter feed bills and other costs looming.

“We are often critical of DAERA, and rightly so, but in terms of this year’s CAP payments, I think many farmers will agree they should be commended on a job well done. Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK to have received an advance payment. This is testament to the efforts of farmers and DAERA to get the system working well,” the UFU deputy president said.

While this is good news for the vast majority of farmers, the UFU recognises that there will still be some that will have to wait for payments as their claims are queried for various reasons.

“Waiting on a payment is beyond frustrating, especially after the difficult year we have had weather wise.

“We want to see DAERA apply the same drive in sorting out these outstanding claims as they have done in making advance payments and payments in full in December to ensure that those waiting receive their CAP payment without delay,” added Mr Ferguson.