NI farmers receive over £275m in Direct Payments

Over 23,000 farmers have received the funds, totalling £275.5m
Over 23,000 farmers have received the funds, totalling £275.5m

Over £275m has been paid to Northern Irish farmers in the first week of Direct Payments being issued, the devolved government has announced.

The payments, which included Basic Payment Scheme payments, Greening payments and Young Farmers’ payments, were issued on 16 October.

Over 23,000 farmers (97%) received funds totalling £275.5m to date, including a 4.3% linear increase on Basic Payment Entitlements.

The Direct Payments were the largest pay out made by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on any single day.

Edwin Poots, DAERA farming minister, said they were 'critical' to farmers amid the ongoing pandemic.

“These payments provide financial support to the farming community in this very challenging and difficult time.”

Mr Poots urged farmers who have yet to provide details for payment to do so: "There are some farmers who have not received payment as they have not provided specific details to the department.

“I would therefore urge those farmers to provide their details as soon as possible to enable payment to be released. My officials are continuing to verify the remaining claims as a matter of urgency.”

He added the remaining applications will continue to be verified with payments being released daily thereafter.

Payments will reach farmers’ bank accounts within five working days, and payment letters will be issued by post but can also be viewed online.

As full payments are being made in October there will no longer be additional part payments in December, Mr Poots said.

From 2020, Direct Payments in the UK are paid in sterling. The exchange rate for 2020 is €1 = £0.89092, which is the same as in 2019.