Milk producers will be among the first farmers to receive their single payment this year.

Payments will begin as usual in December, with a special focus on ensuring dairy farmers receive their annual subsidy cheque soon afterwards.

The Rural Payments Agency hopes to pay 92-94% of dairy farmers in the first part of the payment window.

Despite recent rises in farmgate prices, many farmers continue to produce milk at a loss.

Producers also face the prospect of a difficult winter, with a dismal summer resulting in forage shortages and high feed costs.

Chief executive Mark Grimshaw said the agency was already ahead of schedule processing 105,000 single payment applications this autumn.

The agency was delivering a better service to farmers – leading to its highest ever levels of customer satisfaction, he told an NFU Council meeting on Tuesday (16 October).

A new fitter agency was beginning to take shape, said Mr Grimshaw.

“We are on track to deliver a better and faster service to farmers,” he told NFU council delegates at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

“We are on track to deliver a better and faster service to farmers.”
RPA chief executive Mark Grimshaw

After beating its targets last year, the agency’s goal was to ensure that 91% of farmers received their single payment by 31 December, equivalent to paying out 84% of the total fund.

By 31 March 2013, the agency aimed to ensure that 97% of farmers had received their money, equivalent to paying out 97% of the total fund.

Although the agency was delivering a better service, a new complaints and appeals system will be launched in December, said Mr Grimshaw.

Great strides had been made in restoring the agency’s credibility, he added. But there would be no let up in the drive to deliver against performance indicators.

The agency would continue to encourage farmers to submit payment applications electronically, rather than on paper, he added.

More than 42,000 single payment applications were made this year.

“Online reporting is here to stay and the evidence shows it is being embraced by our customers,” said Mr Grimshaw.

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