More than 90% of farmers receive advance payments

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Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has confirmed that 90.72% of eligible farmers have received an advance CAP payment this month.

Northern Ireland was the first region in the United Kingdom to introduce advance payments and the Minister said that this was possible because of the increase in the number of farmers submitting their Single Application online.

The Minister had set a target of 80% of eligible farmers to receive an advance payment.

Miss McIlveen said: “This is a huge boost for over 21,000 farmers and a clear example of how the Executive is delivering for our industry.

“I announced recently that Northern Ireland would be the first region of the United Kingdom to make advance payments. I am pleased to be able to confirm that 90.72% of eligible farmers have received an advance payment, resulting in a total of £158,474,453 reaching 21,111 farmers much earlier this year.

“I am delighted with this outcome which exceeds the challenging target of 80% I set earlier this month. While my department has worked hard to deliver, it is clear that the increase in farmers applying online has facilitated early payments.”

The minister added: “These payments will deliver a boost to the cash flow of our farm businesses right across Northern Ireland. I am particularly pleased that many Young Farmers, and a significant number of businesses subject to inspection, are receiving advance payments.”

The minister said that her department will continue to work diligently to deliver for farmers.

She concluded: “My department is now focusing on the necessary work to deliver full or balance payments to 95% of eligible farmers in December.”

The money will come as a welcome boost to farmers across the province.

Commenting UFU president, Barclay Bell, said: “Given the acute cash flow pressures the industry faces these payments will be anxiously awaited by farming families across Northern Ireland, and this announcement from the minister is very welcome.

“Under current EU rules this advance is limited to 50 per cent of the direct payment but has been increased, like this year, to 70 per cent to help offset severe cash flow difficulties – something which we have been pushing for from the outset. It reflects the move there has been towards on-line applications and as this announcement confirms that doing so creates the conditions for early payments.”