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Gildernew announces 2010 Less Favoured Areas payments on the way

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has announced that payments under the 2010 Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances Scheme (LFACA) have started to issue.

The Minister stated: "I know that these payments, worth some £25million, will be a welcome boost to farmers in the disadvantaged areas. We had hoped to start payments earlier in February but unfortunately we were unable to do so until the necessary legislation was finalised and in place."

The Minister continued: "This short delay has allowed us to process more claims and we expect to have 90% of eligible claims paid by the end of March. The remainder of claims will be paid progressively in the Spring once queries and probate issues have been resolved."

The Minister concluded: "To enable us to maximise the number of LFA payments during this period, farmers are asked not to phone Orchard House unless absolutely necessary. Where it is necessary to ring, callers should bear in mind that phone lines may be busy at peak periods."

Notes to editors:

1. 2010 Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances (LFACA) payments, including cattle bonus, is worth £25.43million.

2. Payment rates for 2010 are £47.62 per hectare Severely Disadvantaged Area (SDA), £23.81 per hectare Disadvantaged Area (DA)/Common Land. Applicants who qualify for cattle bonus will receive an additional payment of 25% of the respective land element. Rates for future years will be subject to an affordability review.

3. 14,616 farmers have applied to the scheme. Some 13,000 are expected to satisfy eligibility conditions and qualify for payment. Main reasons claims do not satisfy eligibility conditions are failure to meet stocking density levels, penalties that render the claims ineligible and late applications.

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