£180million Single Farm Payments due in December
Michelle O’Neill MLA, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, has announced that payment of 2012 Single Farm Payments (SFP) will commence in December 2012.
Minister O’Neill said: “I am particularly pleased that the first of the 2012 Single Farm Payments will be credited to farmers’ bank accounts around 7th December. We are aiming to finalise around 80% of the 37,600 claims submitted to the scheme in December 2012.
“The vast majority of farmers will receive their payments before Christmas. This year’s Single Farm Payment will be worth around £245million to local farmers when all payments are completed.
She continued, “Although this is less than last year because of the less favourable exchange rate, the Single Farm Payment continues to make a significant contribution to farm incomes.
“Around £180million will be paid out in December 2012 and the rest will follow as soon as the issues which are preventing payment on the remaining claims have been resolved.”
European Union rules permit DARD to make payments only when eligibility has been fully established. In some cases this will mean claims cannot be paid immediately.
Outlining the instances in which payment might be delayed, the Minister said: “The EU rules require my Department to carry out checks on all claims to verify eligibility and to calculate the correct amount due before a payment can be made.
“Many of the cases that we cannot pay immediately, particularly those which had on-farm inspections, have identified land eligibility concerns and changes to farm maps and, therefore, require investigation and more complex assessments which take time to complete.”
Speaking to Newry Times, South Down Alliance spokesperson Councillor Patrick Clarke welcomed the 2012 Single Farm Payments.
“I welcome that this year’s Single Farm Payment will be paid to farmers before Christmas. Many farmers across South Down and the North depend on the Single Farm Payment to keep their farming businesses operating during what must be one of the worst years for the agriculture sector.”
“The Single Farm Payment is worth around £245million to local farmers and continues to make a very significant contribution to farm incomes.”
He added, “I have no doubt that the early payment of the Single Farm Payment will go some way to alleviating the financial hardships that many farmers are presently facing.”
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