Farm subsidies: Most NI farmers to receive direct payments early


Last year farmers received payments on 18 October

Most farmers in Northern Ireland are expected to receive their direct payments on Wednesday, six weeks earlier than usual.

Direct payments are annual government subsidies paid to farmers to support the local agricultural industry and help protect food supplies.

The Department of Agriculture and Environment (Daera) has issued £286.9m in payments to 97% of farmers.

The remaining applications still have to be verified.

The early payment means more than 23,000 farm businesses have received the full amount due for 2022.

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said the cost-of-living crisis had prompted the move.

“The ongoing disruption to agricultural markets, in particular due to the situation in Ukraine, is having a huge impact on farm businesses in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“To help them with cashflow, annual payments have commenced six weeks earlier than previous years.”

He added that 23,208 farmers had been issued their payment on 1 September.

“This is only possible because we have left the European Union and can now make decisions to suit local needs.”

Edwin Poots

Edwin Poots said the earlier payments were possible due to Brexit

Basic payments have increased by 2.04% in 2022, to ensure ring-fenced funding is used in full.

It means each farmer will receive about £250 extra, depending on the size of their claim.

Farmers taking part in the pilot Protein Crops Scheme have also received their payments.

This is the second year of the scheme, which aims to reduce Northern Ireland’s dependence on imported proteins, like soy, by encouraging farmers to plant specific crops.

They include peas, beans and sweet lupins.

The farmers taking part have received a share of a total fund of £208,355.

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