The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has expressed its intention to issue advance payments for the Basic Payment Scheme and Greening Payment.
The Ulster Farmers Union has welcomed the announcement that where possible advance payments will be made from 16 October onwards – the first date possible under EU rules.
The Union says this decision was expected as the number of farmers submitting their Single Application Form online increased so significantly, creating the conditions for early payments.
UFU president, Barclay Bell, said: “While commodity prices have improved from last year and exchange rates have improved farmers will certainly welcome the decision to pay up to half of their claim in October.”
Under current EU rules this advance is limited to 50 per cent of the direct payment. It has been raised to 70 per cent in some years to help offset cash flow difficulties. “This is something we will be pushing the European Commission for as cash flow is still an issue on many farms,” said Mr Bell.
He added that while the exchange rate to calculate the sterling value of payments will not be confirmed until the end of September the UFU is hopeful that the further strengthening of the Euro against Sterling, since last year, will provide a welcome boost as winter arrives and feed and other bills begin to rise.