A total of £291.3 million in Direct Payments has been issued to 98% of Northern Ireland farmers today, Friday September 1, providing a much needed boost to farming families and the rural economy in this very challenging year.
Dr. Jason Foy, head of Area-based Schemes Division with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), said: “I am pleased to announce another record payment performance for DAERA, with £291.3 million having issued to 23,420 farmers (98% of eligible applicants) on September 1.
“Payments have begun six weeks ahead of the traditional October date again this year, to help farm businesses who rely heavily on this vital annual payment.
“Despite challenging budgetary pressures, a linear increase of 2.32% has been applied to the Basic Payment Scheme payments in 2023. This increase in funding will be welcomed by farmers.”
Payments will continue to be released following successful validation checks for the small number of remaining applications, according to DAERA.
Farm businesses are reminded that, to ensure prompt payment, they should check that their contact details and BACS payment scheme information are up to date.
For 2023, payment letters will be issued via the DAERA Messaging Service. However, if an agent completed the Single Application on behalf of the farm business, the payment letter will be issued by post for the 2023 scheme year.
DAERA says its Messaging Service is a secure way for the department to communicate with customers, who will receive an email notification with a link to the 2023 Single Application Payment Letter in the DAERA Customer Portal.
The DAERA Customer Portal can be accessed by completing a verification process using Government Gateway / NI Direct Account credentials.
According to DAERA, annual funding for agricultural support in Northern Ireland has been guaranteed by the UK Treasury until the end of the current parliament.
Within the available budget, it was possible to apply an increase of 2.32% to the value of BPS entitlements in 2023, according to the department.
This one-off increase applies to 2023 payments only and equates to an average of approximately £250 extra for each farmer.
Depending on the size of their claim, some farmers will receive more than this amount and some farmers will receive less.
The increase in BPS payments for 2023 is equivalent to the increase made in 2022.
Also today (September 1), payments to applicants under the Protein Crops Scheme issued, totaling £246,560.
The Account NI system, which the department uses to make its payments, will be upgraded during September 2023.