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DARD speeds up agri-environment payments

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said today that she was determined to speed up agri-environment payments.
Thursday, 31 January 2013

She said: “I am sympathetic to the need of farmers for additional cash flow at this time. As we come through the winter, livestock farmers will find themselves with increasing feed bills, particularly as many animals had to be housed earlier than planned and consumed silage last autumn that would normally have been available from now onwards.

“There are almost 1500 participants in the NI Countryside Management Scheme who claim on their single application form each May. They have until 31 December to complete optional works, and checks are carried out the following year with payment made once checks are complete.

“Last year, I took a decision to limit the numbers on the scheme, and that has given us the capacity to begin our checks earlier than has been our experience in the past. We have already begun administrative checks on 2012 claims and will commence inspections at the start of February, enabling payments to begin in May 2013, some four months earlier than they began last year."

The Minister concluded: “I hope this will be of direct assistance to the farmers who are participating in this scheme, and will also be a signal to the banks and others that we are working alongside the farming community to reduce demands on working capital.”

Notes to editors:

  1. All media queries should be directed to the DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email: DARD Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.