Christmas has come early for farmers in Northern Ireland, as balance and full CAP payments will begin issuing in December.

A combined £85 million (€96.3 million) is expected to make its way to most of the region’s farmers just in time for Christmas.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that it will start issuing the rest of the CAP payments this Friday (December 1).

It is anticipated that payments will begin to reach farmers’ bank accounts from Wednesday, December 6, 2017.

Payments will be made on a daily basis throughout December.

Remaining 30%

In October, 94% of farmers in Northern Ireland received an advance CAP payment. The payments, totalling £182.7 million (€207.5 million), were issued to almost 22,500 businesses.

Payments can only be made on fully verified claims.

Therefore, balance payments will be made to farmers who received an advance payment in October and full payments will be made to those with verified claims who could not receive an advance.

As the department had obtained permission from the European Commission to make advance payments at 70% of the claim value, balance payments will comprise of the remaining 30% of the claim value.

At the moment, it’s expected the remaining payments will total around £85 million; although, this figure will change slightly over the next month – as issues with applications are resolved.

Payment letters have begun issuing and, in addition, DAERA is making payment statements available online.

Farmers and their agents will be able to view their own payment information online through DAERA Online Services.

The exchange rate for 2017 is £0.8947 for every euro.

Exchange rate fluctuations have added around 5% to the value of European subsidies this year – in real terms that’s an extra £13 million (€14.7 million) compared to last year’s rate.

Direct payments in the UK are paid in sterling, except where the farmer elects for payment in euro by the deadline for submission of single applications.

Payments will be made in the chosen currency by electronic transfer into the farm business bank account.