Northern Ireland producers are set to receive 75% of their single farm payments in December, NI agriculture minister Jeff Rooker has confirmed.

But the latest information from DEFRA is still that farmers in England will be waiting until at least February 2006 for any money.

“Interim payments will be made to those farm businesses where validation checks and inspections have been completed,” said Lord Rooker.

“My department is validating as many claims as possible to maximise the number of farm businesses which will receive a payment.”

Advance SFPs will be based on 75% of the provisional payment, made up from the historic reference amount, and a provisional area amount.

It will not include any potential allocation from the National Reserve, but does include a deduction for modulation.

Meanwhile, junior DEFRA minister Jim Knight has announced that the Rural Payments Agency is still on target to start paying England’s producers their full single farm payment in February.

Mr Knight made the announcement during parliamentary questions on Thursday, 17 November.

“The EU regulatory window for payments under the 2005 single payment scheme is 1 December, 2005 to 30 June, 2006,” he said.

“The RPA remains on target to commence payments well within that window in February 2006.”

Mr Knight added that the government had been successful in persuading the European Commission that it should be able to make interim payments if it had to.

“But as we are on target for February, that is not something on which we have dwelt unduly.”