SFP CHEQUES LATE ALREADY

FARMERS In England will not get their single farm payment until February 2006 at the earliest, the Rural Payments Agency has announced.

The agency said on Wed (Jan 19) that “this is the earliest date to which farmers, their financial advisers and banks should plan”.

The NFU said the news let down the farming industry and would be greeted by anger as the payment window opened on Dec 1, 2005. “Payment on time is vital to ensure English farmers do not lose market edge. We expect our competitors in cereals in France and beef in Ireland will be paid in December,” said president Tim Bennett.

“DEFRA and the RPA need to find a solution and put in place measures which will make sure farmers can continue to run their businesses. Our priority remains for payments to be made in December, failing that we will be seeking a substantial advance payment to be made in December.”