NFU pressure over the past 18 months will finally see thousands of farmers receiving overdue payments for their environmental work.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has announced today that around 22,500 eligible farmers in agri-environment schemes will be paid the owed £115m in July.
Today’s announcement will be welcome news to thousands of farmers and their families who have delivered their side of the contract but have had to resort to taking out loans and overdrafts because the Government had not fulfilled its side of the contract.
NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said: “This news from the RPA will help provide much-needed relief for those farming businesses waiting on outstanding Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship payments.
“We have been calling for the Government to sort this out. At NFU Conference in February, Michael Gove admitted that the Countryside Stewardship scheme was “still in a mess” and that the Government must do better.
“The news comes as we had worked with one of our legal panel firms, Thrings, through our Legal Assistance Scheme to assist individual farmer members in pursuing their debt claims against the RPA. Hopefully this service will no longer be necessary.
“However, we will continue to monitor the situation to make sure these overdue payments are made in full and at last hit farm bank accounts.”