A £25 million boost for the beef and dairy sectors was today welcomed by the Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots.

The funding is to help mitigate falls in demand and prices for beef and dairy products during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Minister said: “This cash injection is the most generous allocation made by any UK or EU administration for the agriculture sector during the Coronavirus emergency and reflects the deep and complex challenges the industry faces. We know that with falling demand and prices for beef and dairy products, many farm businesses have been amongst the hardest hit, so the funding I have secured will certainly go some way towards helping the sectors. This will be a lifeline for many businesses and reflects the Executive’s commitment to supporting the sectors.”

With the horticulture sector also facing challenges, the Minister vowed to monitor closely the impact on producers over the coming weeks.

He also welcomed the £3.8m allocation from the Executive to help cover higher waste collection, treatment and disposal costs in Councils. The funding will also support the additional costs of implementing social distancing measures and ensure that staff across councils are able to fulfil these crucial waste management roles in a safe manner.

Single Farm Applications

24,494 Single Applications were received by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs by midnight on 15 May 2020 despite the Covid-19 lockdown.

Minister Poots thanked farmers, agents and his own staff for working together to ensure that applications were received on time, despite the added operating difficulties due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

Minister Poots says the Department should be in position to issue full payments in October. “As a result of everyone’s efforts we should be in a position to distribute full payments in October - a first for Northern Ireland farmers and ahead of every part of the EU and UK. This is a demonstration of the efficiency that has been developed by DAERA in dealing with payments and the Department’s willingness to get the money on farms at the earliest available opportunity.”

Minister Poots also reminded farmers that they can amend applications up to 9 June without penalty. “This has been a tough year for farmers and they’ll be relying heavily on their Basic Payment. It is therefore important to ensure claims are accurate. So I would like to remind farmers and agents that amendments can be made up to 9 June 2020 without any financial penalty being incurred,” he added.

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