Details of the Hardship Scheme

Sunday, 19 May, 2013

What is the Hardship Scheme and how do I apply?

The Agriculture (Hardship Payment) Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2013 comes into operation on 24 May. 
The Hardship Payment Scheme is the second element of the Hardship funding agreed by the Executive on 28 March, the first element being the payment by the Department of collection and disposal costs.

Under the Hardship Payment Scheme farmers, who had fallen stock collected and disposed of during the period 25 March to 3 May, approved by DARD, are eligible for funding.

Hardship payments, that have been evidenced and verified with reference to the collection and disposal data from the approved renderers, are at a flat rate attributed to the relevant livestock, based on average replacement cost, predominantly on the basis of the age and determined with reference to market information. The rates, which are set out in the legislation, include an average flat rate for a lamb of £30 and for a sheep of £110.  A wider range of flat rates is included for cattle, depending on age, whether the animal is beef or dairy and has progeny. Full details are set out below.

As the Scheme is provided for under the State Aid De-minimis rules payments will be capped at the de minimis limit of €7,500 (£6,400approx) , including the collection/disposal costs of the fallen animals.

In order to apply for payments, farmers will be issued with a pre-populated application/claim form indicating losses and payment entitlement, for return with appropriate signature.  Letters advising farmers of their hardship payment entitlement and including a claim form for signature and return to DARD, will issue to farmers in the coming days and it is expected payments will be made to farmers by the end of June 2013. Farmers do not need to contact DARD at this time.

The flat rates will be as follows:

CATTLE - AGE    BEEF    DAIRY

0-3 months    £200    £45
3-6 months    $380    £380
6-12 months    £700    £700
12-18 months £880    £880

18-48 months
(no progeny)    £1140    £1140

</=48 months
(with progeny)    -    £1290

>/=48 months    -    £740
>/=48 months

(no progeny)    £740    -
</=96 months
(with progeny)    £900    -

SHEEP    
Lambs    £30
Sheep    £110

GOATS    
Under 12 months    £30
12 months or more    £110

Poultry - £2.50 per animal

Questions and Answers

Q. What is the hardship scheme?

A. The Hardship Scheme seeks to help mitigate the cost to farmers of livestock losses arising from the 22-24 March snow storm.  It is the second element of hardship support aimed at assisting those farmers who lost stock because of the snow storm.  Payments are up to the de-minimus limit of €7,500 euros (£6,400 approx) per farm business.

Q. Who is eligible for the Hardship Scheme? 

A. To be eligible, farmers must have demonstrable livestock losses arising from the snow storm and have had these fallen stock collected and disposed of by approved renderers during the relevant period. 

Q. Do I need to apply to receive the hardship funding?

A. No. Eligible farmers will receive letters from DARD in early June advising of their hardship entitlement and how to claim. Farmers are required to return a claim form within two weeks of receipt. Payments are expected to be made by the end of June. 

Q. What if a farmer provides false / misleading information or refuses to cooperate with an authorised officer?

A. If a farmer provides false / misleading information or refuses to cooperate with an authorised officer the Department may withhold or recover payment.

Providing false information, which a farmer knows is false, may lead to prosecution and if convicted may result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

Acting in contravention of or neglecting or failing to comply with any provision contained in the hardship scheme or obstructing or impeding an authorised officer may lead to prosecution and if convicted may result in a fine.