UFU request for earlier release of SFP Payments

Thursday, 4 September, 2014

Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ian Marshall is calling on DARD to ensure that they are prepared and in a position to respond positively to a request for the early release of SFP payments, should the European Commission permit it.

Ian Marshall said; “Having spent the last few weeks in very close contact with Union members right across Northern Ireland, we have become increasingly aware of the impact which reduced farm gate prices is having on the financial stability of farming businesses, particularly in the beef, dairy and arable sectors.  We are also aware that these concerns spread right across Europe, especially given the impact that the Russian ban is having on many European Countries, and in recognising this we believe that the EU Commission is very likely to move to permit the early payment or part payment of this year’s Single Farm Payment.   

“In the past, many EU Countries, including the Republic of Ireland, were able to take advantage of the EU Commission’s decision and release SFP payments early, but disappointingly Northern Ireland was never in a position to make such a facility available to NI farmers.  Now however, with the significant reduction in SFP applications, additional numbers of applications having been completed on line and the increased use of remote sensing for inspections, the Department should be able to make early payments if and when the EU Commission permits it.  I have written to our Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill asking her to ensure that her team is prepared and in a position to respond positively to the request and ensure that for the first time since the introduction of the Single Farm Payment, local farmers can be assisted in the management of their cash flow, over what might well turn out to be a difficult winter period by receiving their SFP earlier.”