Fifty pound notes © XYZ PICTURES / imageBROKER/REX/ Shutterstock© XYZ PICTURES/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

The Rural Payments Agency has confirmed that 33,000 farmers in England have been paid their annual support payment, which amounts to 38% of people who submitted a claim.

The agency said the money was already hitting farmers’ bank accounts on the opening day of the payment window (1 December).

It has also revealed it has now paid out £21m to 11,000 dairy farmers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of an EU crisis scheme. This is an increase on the £16.2m paid out on 16 November, although the total amount due to be paid to farmers is £26.6m, so there are still some producers waiting.

See also: Defra faces difficulties paying BPS early and accurately

Defra secretary Elizabeth Truss said the government understood the importance of getting out the payments to hard-working farmers.

“After making dairy support payments a fortnight ahead of schedule, the RPA has now pulled out all the stops to get BPS payments under way,” she said.

“I know RPA staff are continuing to work flat out to ensure the agency meets its commitment to pay the majority of farmers by the end of this month and the vast majority by the end of January.”

The RPA will issue BPS and remaining EU dairy support fund payments via Bacs transfer.

Farmers are being reminded if their bank details have changed or they still need to register on the Rural Payments online system, they need to call the Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301.

The agency will be unable to make payments to applicants who are not registered.