The Rural Payments Agency has run a live test of its payments systems, resulting in a small number of England’s farmers getting their 2008 single farm payment.

It is not yet clear how many farmers have been paid, but Farmers Weekly has already been contacted by a farm in Kent which has discovered that its SFP money has been paid. The family said they were “dancing around the kitchen” in celebration.

Further testing of the RPA’s systems is now scheduled – but if things progress as they did last year, the move could mean that a full SFP payment run will start soon.

In 2007, the RPA did a test run of payments on 10 December 2007 and moved to full payments on 18 December.

A statement on the RPA’s website said the agency was working towards making more payments to more farmers earlier than last year, with a view to meeting its formal targets of making 75% of payments, by value, by the end of January and 90% by value by the end of March 2009.

Are you one of the lucky few in England? Have you been paid in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland? Share your thoughts on the forums.