LAOIS/Offaly TD Charlie Flanagan has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture of the advance payment of €487 million in Single Farm Payments (SFP) to 101,000 farmers nationally.
The payments have been brought forward from December to October following representations made by Minister Coveney to the EU Commission. Just under €15 million was paid to Offaly farmers.
Mr Flanagan commented, ”Payments have started issuing directly into farmers’ bank accounts as of Monday, October 17. Cash-flow has become a critical issue for farmers, particularly those on low incomes, and the timing of these payments is extremely important. That’s why these payments are so important for farmers and for the rural economy.
“Upon entering office, Minister Coveney made it a priority to bring forward the payments from December to October. In doing so he has shown that he is in tune with the challenges that farmers are facing. Farmers in Laois and Offaly will no doubt welcome the advance payment of these figures upon which their livelihoods depend. In Offaly alone, 2,496 farmers have received payments resulting in a total payment figure of €14,986,326.”
The Fine Gael TD added that the Single Farm Payment forms a considerable part of the annual income of farmers.
“It has taken on increased significance in the current economic climate. Huge numbers of farmers rely on the SFP to subsidise the running costs of the farm the payment often constitutes an amount greater than the net farm income.
“Additional payments will be made up to December 1 when the 50% balancing payments are scheduled to commence issuing. By the end of the year the vast majority of the SFP will have been paid, the total value of which will be in excess of €1.2 billion,” he concluded.