DEFRA SHOULD pay farmers 90% of their SFP in December next year rather than in May 2006 as planned, according to the NFU’s livestock board chairman Richard Haddock.

“This message goes out from a unanimous livestock board.  We are seriously concerned about the prospect that farmers may have to wait 18 months for their payments,” Mr Haddock said, adding that the message to DEFRA has the backing of NFU president Tim Bennett.

“DEFRA should make sure that 90% of historic payments are made in December next year. There is no reason why they shouldn’t, since they already have information about everyone’s historic payments in their computer system, and European regulations allow payments to be made at that time,” Mr Haddock said.