Gildernew welcomes Single farm Payment progress
Sinn Féin farm Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA, has announced that almost 1,700 additional farmers were paid their Single Farm Payments by the end of December than in 2006.
A total of 1,659 more farmers were paid their 2007 Single Farm Payment in December 2007 than in the same period last year and improved payment targets have now been set for February and March 2008. The level of performance achieved, against the payment targets announced in November 2007, was that 79.3% (30,925) of farm businesses received their payments before Christmas, 80.9% (31,575) by 31 December 2007 and 85.7% (33,440) by the end of January 2008.
Announcing the progress on this year's payments, the Minister said:
"Over 1,650 more farmers were paid in December than in the same period in 2006. By the end of January, 1,374 more payments were completed than at the end of the same period last year. I am very pleased with the progress that my department continues to make on payments and this is a significant achievement in line with my concern to make timely payments to farmers."
The Minister also announced improved targets for February and March 2008 whereby 89% (34,725) of 2007 claims will be finalised by 29 February and 93% (36,285) by 31 March 2008. The Minister said:
"Once again I have set my department tough targets, this timetable will be good news to farmers. It is anticipated that 800 more claims will be finalised by the end of March than at this time in 2007. I hope that we can improve further in the 2008 round but farmers need to help by ensuring their maps are corrected and their 2008 Single Application agrees with the corrected position before the IACS form is submitted. "
Commenting on the claims not yet finalised, the Minister said:
" My department must assess all cases in accordance with the EU rules and is taking all possible steps to ensure the remaining assessments are completed at the earliest possible date."
She also took the opportunity to remind farmers that EU rules permit payments to be made only where eligibility has been fully established and thanked them for their patience as this can be a long administrative process. The minister highlighted that a large number of mapping changes effective from earlier years have been identified meaning that the entitlements allocated in 2005 may have to be adjusted before the 2007 payment can be calculated.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The payment timetable for December 2007 and January 2008 was announced in Press Notice 128/07 on 22 November 2007.
- Farmers receive payment advice notes detailing how their Single Farm Payment has been calculated a few days in advance of receiving their payable order or payment into their bank account.