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DUP presses DARD on farm payments

02 August 2004

A DUP delegation comprising of Jim Allister MEP, Arlene Foster MLA and Edwin Poots MLA today met officials from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to discuss problems farmers are suffering because of the non-payment of farm premia payments.


After the meeting today at Dundonald House, Jim Allister said,”‘As public representatives, we have been contacted by farmers who are suffering financial hardship because of premia payments which have not been processed due to the ongoing civil service strike actions.


At present, there are around 400 farm businesses which have not received their payments. These are often cases where there has been a very minor anomaly resulting in the entire payment being withheld from the farmer. In some cases there are farmers waiting on as much as £50,000. These problems are particularly acute at this time of the year because there are many bills which need to be paid such as conacre lettings and tax payments.


We know that DARD is currently working through individual cases where farmers are facing hardship but we urged them to do all in their power to make sure that all the farmers who are currently awaiting payments receive help as soon as possible.


We will be keeping in contact with DARD and have asked them to notify us of any developments as soon as they become known. In the mean time we would ask other agencies such as banks and feed merchants to take the current financial problems of farmers into account when they are looking at the levels of debt carried by farmers”.

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Agriculture and Environment