Gildernew confirms more farmers to get Single Farm Payment in December
Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has announced that 79% of farmers will receive their 2007 Single Farm Payments by 21 December 2007.
Announcing the improved payment timetable, the Minister advised that at least 70% of farm businesses will receive a full payment by 14 December 2007, 79% by 21 December 2007 and 83% by 31 January 2008.
"I am very pleased with the progress my Department continues to make with the Single Farm Payment timetable. I have set demanding targets in relation to the payment timetable and we are 4% ahead of where we were last year. This year's timetable means that 900 more farmers will receive their full Single Farm Payment in time for Christmas than at this time in 2006."
The Minister also noted that the EU rules permit payments to be made only where eligibility has been fully established, meaning that not all claims can be paid immediately. She commented that:
"As in 2006, land area differences are being identified by on-farm inspections. In some cases where these area changes are effective from earlier years, entitlements allocated in 2005 may have to be adjusted before the amount of the 2007 payment can be assessed. These calculations are complex and collectively form a significant administrative task."
"My Department is taking all possible steps to ensure that the remaining assessments are completed quickly and to ensure that all remaining eligible claims are paid at the earliest possible date."
Where there are remaining queries on claims or on-farm inspections to be completed, DARD will be following these up where necessary with the farmers concerned. In many cases queries can be sorted out from the information already held in the Department's records and without having to contact individual farmers.
The payment timetable for February 2008 onwards will be published at the end of January 2008.
To enable the Department to maximise the number of payments during December, farmers are asked to phone Orchard House only if absolutely necessary. Callers should bear in mind that phone lines may be busy at peak periods.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Farmers will receive payment advice notes detailing how their Single Farm Payment has been calculated a few days in advance of receiving their payment.