More than 95% of farmers in England received their 2020 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) money in the first day of the payment window.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) said about £1.67bn in total was paid to farmers for BPS on 1 December.
A further £40m for Countryside Stewardship (CS) and £60m for Environmental Stewardship (ES) scheme payments are expected within the first few days of the window, which runs until June.
Farmers who claimed CS and ES agreements in 2020 will receive one full payment this year as part of a wider plan to deliver a better service to farmers and land managers.
The RPA said it was on track to achieve its best-ever payment performance.
In 2019, £1.19bn dropped into accounts on the first day of the window, when there were no CS or ES payments made.
RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “2020 has been a challenging year for many and I have been really pleased at the progress we have made, which has resulted in this level of performance despite the difficulties presented by coronavirus.
“This is testament to the hard work of people within the agency and the measures we have taken to further simplify CS.”
Payments are made directly into bank accounts via BACS transfer, so farmers should ensure that the RPA has the most up-to-date account details on the Rural Payments service.
The devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have yet to release early figures on their own 2020 BPS payment campaigns.
Stopping fraudulent activity
Farmers are also urged to remain vigilant against fraud. They should remember:
- Your bank, police or the RPA will never ask you to reveal your online password, PIN or bank account details or ask you to make a payment over the telephone.
- Never disclose personal information to someone you don’t know or open unknown or unexpected computer links or emails.
- If in doubt, call the organisation back, ideally on a different telephone, using a number you are familiar with or you know to be official. You can find this on the organisation’s website, correspondence or statement.
Contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 without delay for advice and to register your concern