UFU welcomes LFA payment announcement

Tuesday, 13 January, 2015

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill’s announcement that the rates for the 2015 Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances (LFACA) Scheme will remain at the same level as they have been for the last five years.

The Agriculture Minister has confirmed that payment rates for this LFACA Scheme which was claimed in 2014 will be £23.81 per hectare for Disadvantaged Areas and Common Land and £47.62 per hectare for Severely Disadvantaged Areas.

UFU Hill Farming Chairman Ian Buchanan said; “LFA payments are an important element of farm incomes in less favoured areas and we welcome the fact that the Minister and her team recognise the value of these payments to the hill farming community.  The announcement that this support mechanism will make similar rates of payment available to previous years will be pleasing news to farmers. 

With DARD hoping to issue payments in early March, this will provide some much needed reassurance and certainty for farmers planning their cash flow budgets for 2015.  Last year was a difficult year for many livestock farmers with high levels of volatility once again witnessed in the market place.  This volatility has made it more difficult for businesses to plan and improve margins and this demonstrates the importance of the Less Favoured Area Scheme payments which provides a boost to farms at a key time. 

“The UFU Hill Farming Committee continues to monitor the introduction of the new Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme which will replace the LFA Scheme in 2016 and will maintain lobbying efforts to ensure that this Scheme operates in a manner which is to the benefit of hill farmers.”