Exchange Rate boost will help local farmers

Monday, 30 September, 2013

The Ulster Farmers’ Union says Single Farm Payments to farm businesses in Northern Ireland will increase following the publication today (30 September) of the new Euro/Sterling exchange rate for the scheme.  The EU Direct Payments to farmers will be converted into Sterling at the rate of £0.83605 to one Euro.  The 2013 rate represents a 4.76 per cent increase in the value of the Euro compared to last year.  This payment is based on the Euro/Sterling exchange rate in the European Central Bank on 30 September.  

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “The Single Farm Payment is a vital element of farm incomes and the 4.76 per cent increase in the value the of the Euro, compared to last year, is a welcome boost to producers especially given the difficult winter and spring many farmers have had to endure. On another positive note, back in October 2012 Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill announced that she would not apply Voluntary Modulation to farmers Single Farm Payments in December 2013.  This decision will also boost the direct support which farmers will receive through their Single Farm Payment, resulting in a 9% gain up to €5,000 and a further 4% between €5,000 and €300,000 compared to last year.

“However, pressure on the CAP budget means that, for the first time, the EU Commission will   bring into play the application of the ‘financial discipline’ mechanism, which will have to be applied this year to remain within the EU’s CAP Budget Ceiling.  This exchange rate gain should offset this deduction, although the final rate for financial discipline has not been fully confirmed yet.”

As for the delivery of the 2013 Single Farm Payments, the UFU expect that Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill will make every effort to ensure that a significant improvement will be made in the number of SFP payments issued this December.  This has been a hard enough year for farmers and they cannot afford to have any delay to their direct payments.