Over 11,000 dairy, beef and sheep farm businesses have submitted applications to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) Covid-19 Support Fund, resulting in total claims worth almost £18.2million, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced.
The financial support fund for dairy, beef and sheep sectors opened for applications on 7 September 2020 and 98.5% of the 11,350 eligible farmers submitted their applications by the closing date of 23 September 2020. Payments will issue from Monday 28 September.
Announcing the figures, Minister Poots said: “Earlier this year the Executive announced funding of £25million for a Covid-19 support package – the most generous allocation made by any UK or EU administration for the agriculture and horticulture sectors during the Coronavirus emergency.
“£18.25million was allocated to dairy, beef and sheep farm businesses and I’m pleased to note that just over 98% have submitted claims for financial losses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“My officials worked tirelessly, in partnership with industry and stakeholders, to get the scheme up and running and they will now demonstrate equal effort in processing these applications to ensure payments can begin to issue this incoming week.”
With just under one week to closing date for applications from potato businesses, Minister Poots has encouraged those eligible to submit applications as soon as possible.
He added: “Up to £1.6million is available to offset losses incurred by eligible farm businesses who specialise in supplying potatoes for processing to meet food service and hospitality industry needs. With the application window closing at midnight on 30 September I would again encourage those eligible to apply to do so as soon as possible.”
The scheme for eligible businesses in the commercial horticulture sector will be opening in October.