Hale dismayed by single farm payment backlog

LAGAN Valley MLA Brenda Hale is urging local farmers affected by delays in making last year’s single farm payments to get in touch with her constituency office in Dromore.

Mrs Hale said she was dismayed that, in answer to her recent Assembly question on the issue, Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill “confirmed that almost 1,200 farming families in Northern Ireland are still awaiting their single farm payments for 2011, with a total of £17 million still due to be paid”.

The DUP MLA added, “This is a totally unacceptable situation, as many farmers are struggling to keep their businesses viable in a difficult market and in turbulent financial days.

“It is my understanding that payments are being made in the order in which lands were inspected, the inspections having taken place between June and December 2011, and that some payments may not be processed until summer/autumn of 2012, such is the backlog.

“I would encourage those affected by these difficulties to contact my office on 028 9269 8866 or the DARD Grants and funding helpline on 030 0200 7848 for advice and for further information.”