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Stackyard News Mar 06

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    SFP Setback For Scotland

NFU Scotland has learnt that farmers waiting for payments from the Single Farm Payment (SFP) National Reserve will now not receive this payment when the balance payment on their original SFP is paid.

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galloway cattle
The Executive had announced its intention to make national reserve payments, together with outstanding balance payments, from the end of March. However, this will now not be the case and national reserve payments will be made separately. These payments will not start until the middle of April at the earliest, with many farmers not receiving their national reserve payment until May. NFUS has called for clear information for farmers waiting for payments.

To date, over 90% of farmers have received an advance payment based on three quarters of their original SFP entitlement. Those farmers who applied to the national reserve are therefore awaiting the remaining balance payment on their original entitlement, plus the national reserve payment. Payments of balances started this week, but these will now not include the national reserve element.

There is additional confusion for national reserve applicants who are also trying to consolidate. The information from the Executive on the outcome of their application has not confirmed their final number of entitlements and they may therefore not know how many hectares they must have by the 15 May IACS deadline this year

NFUS has also expressed real concern for cross-border farms, with land in both England and Scotland, whose payments are being held up as a result of the incompetence of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). Whilst these farms will have received an advance payment based on their land in Scotland, they will not receive a balance payment until Defra and the RPA sort out the horrendous problems facing the English payment system.

NFUS President John Kinnaird said:

“National reserve applicants in Scotland need to know where they stand. All they have been told is that the aim was to start payments by the end of March. We now learn that payments will be delayed until well into April at best. For others that applied under more than one category of the national reserve, it appears there is no chance they will see payments until May.

“This problem is compounded by the lack of information coming out of SEERAD direct to farmers. Many are unclear as to their final number of entitlements and some will understandably need that before deciding if they must rent in land by 15 May.

“The Executive has done far better than the RPA in England, but we can’t afford for the system to go off the rails now. Likewise, the Department needs to be ready to press the button on final payments for cross-border farms whenever the RPA and Defra gets its act together. These farms are being penalised by the incompetence of the English authorities.”

link Farming Leaders Express Anger And Dismay After Latest Single Payment Meeting
link Single Payment Scheme - NFU on hand to help again!
link CLA and TFA Statement on Single Payments

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National Farmers' Union
NFU Scotland