The Welsh Assembly has announced that 84% of Welsh farmers will begin receiving their single farm payment on 1 December 2009.

Welsh Assembly rural affairs minister Elin Jones told visitors to the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells that the move was a “wonderful achievement for Rural Payments Wales”.

She told farmers, advisers and industry representatives that civil servants should be praised for getting payments out so quickly.

“Civil servants rarely come in for praise but in this case the Rural Payment Wales should be congratulated,” she said.

There was no information on how quickly the remaining 16% of producers would be paid.

But the impact on early SFP monies being received would be felt far beyond the farmgate, said the minister.

More than £200m was being paid into the rural community and should not be seen as being paid simply to farmers, but money which filters its way out from farm recipients and benefits the wider community, she added.

Like producers in England and Scotland, SFP receipts have been bolstered by recent exchange rate movements that have added 11% to payments for farmers.