O’Neill Announces Payment Rates For Less Favoured Area Scheme

AGRICULTURE Minister Michelle O’Neill has confirmed that the payment rates for the 2014 Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances Scheme (LFACA) will remain the same as last year.

The payment rates for 2014 are £23.81 per hectare in Disadvantaged Areas and Common Land and £47.62 per hectare in Severely Disadvantaged Areas.dn_screen

Minister O’Neill said: “In December of last year I announced my intention to use funds from the current Rural Development Programme budget to pay for the 2014 LFACA scheme. I can confirm that the rates of payments to be issued in 2014 will remain at the same as they have been for the past four years. LFACA payments are an important source of income for our hill farmers and provide a boost to the rural economy. My priority was to ensure that these rates were not reduced and I am committed to ensuring that payments are made as early in 2014 as possible.”

It is anticipated that payments will begin to issue in early March 2014 and the majority of them will be completed by the end of March.

The LFACA scheme is part of the NI Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) 2007-13. The Department has received some 14,800 applications for the 2014 Scheme. Payments on eligible claims will begin to be paid out in early March 2014.The target is for 90% of payments to be made by 31 March 2014.

Applicants may also qualify for a cattle bonus which increases the area based payment for those producers who have 25% or more of their eligible livestock units as suckler cows or heifers.