Sinn Féin’s Oliver McMullan has welcomed the decision by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to allocate Single Farm Payments entitlements in 2015 to those who never previously benefitted from the scheme.
The Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson and East Antrim MLA said,
“I welcome Minister Michelle O’Neill’s answer to a question in which she outlined that she intends to increase the number of people entitled to Single Farm Payments.
“The Minister has stated she has decided to implement the optional provision in the CAP Reform legislation. This will allow entitlements to be allocated in 2015 to those who never previously qualified for a Single Farm Payment. The only proviso is they submit verifiable evidence that on 15th May 2013, they produced, reared or grew agricultural products.
“This decision will allow those businesses which started farming after 2005 but which would not qualify as new entrants under the regional reserve to receive entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme.
“This is one of the most positive developments of the CAP Reform and will help to encourage new farmers, particularly young people, into the industry.
“While SFP has made up a large percentage of farmers’ income I have met many farmers who are farming without SFP entitlements.
“It is testament to their hard work and dedication that they are surviving despite the pressures faced by the industry.”