Other frequently asked questions (FAQ) are available from:
Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) to support farmers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This document will be updated regularly.
'Covid-19 – Impact on day to day farming' at this link.
It is essential to follow the latest advice outlined on the Public Health Agency website. The site is updated daily and provides practical advice and important information for you and your family in these very difficult, challenging times. (updated 24/07/2020)
The Agricultural Commodities (Coronavirus)(Income Support) Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2020
How does a farm business apply for this funding?
Farm businesses considered eligible for support in the dairy, beef and sheep sector will be contacted by DAERA and asked to submit a simple application. For the Potato and Horticulture sectors, eligible growers will be asked to provide documentary evidence to demonstrate the scale of loss incurred. Further details of the application process and distribution of this funding will be made available over the coming weeks on the DAERA website www.daera-ni.gov.uk
Why is DAERA compensating for 80% of losses for some sectors and 100% for other sectors?
Since other Government support measures such as Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and Bounce Back Loan Schemes are available to agricultural and horticultural businesses, rates of compensation for losses incurred have not been set at 100% for all sectors to avoid over compensation of loss.
The 80% rate is compatible with that set as the minimum for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme and the amount of wages paid to furloughed workers through the Coronavirus Job retention Scheme.
The rate for the beef and sheep sector has been set at 100% as average Farm Business Incomes for both lowland and LFA beef farms is lower than in other sectors. Therefore these businesses would have had limited or no benefit from other government support measures including the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.
Do I require a business ID to receive COVID-19 support ?
Ans: Yes. If you don’t have a business ID then you need to apply for one by submitting the relevant forms before making your claim for the Covid-19 support. Business ID information and application form can be found here.
How will the payment for each dairy farm business be allocated?
The Government funding is a contribution towards losses caused by the drop in milk price. Support will be issued as a payment of an amount per litre based on the reduction in monthly average market prices (DAERA statistics) in the period March to June 2020, compared to the average market price in February 2020 of 26.68p/l (pre Covid-19). The payment to each farm business will be based on the volume of milk they supplied to their processor in the period March to June 2020.
What about milk sold on fixed price contracts?
The specific volumes of milk sold on fixed price contacts above the February 2020 reference price of 26.68p/l will not be included in the support package (as no loss incurred), but milk on fixed price contracts below that price will receive support.
Since the base milk price in June rose by 1.25 – 1.5 p/l will this impact on the level of support dairy farmers will receive from the COVID-19 Support Fund.
The allocation of funding is based on the February reference milk price of 26.68p/l, DAERA will calculate the losses on a month per month basis (difference between actual milk price paid and the reference price of 26.68p/l) and then add them up and divide by the total production over the March to June period. The flat rate payment is estimated around 1p/l.
How is the £7m beef funding allocated?
Support due to the drop in beef price will be provided as two flat rate payments per head based on the number of eligible animals presented for slaughter and when those animals were marketed.
Payment 1: £40 per head is based on the number of eligible cattle presented by a farm business for direct slaughter in NI, GB or in RoI between 29 March and 16 May 2020 (Wk 14 – 20) inclusive.
Payment 2: £33 per head is based on the number of eligible cattle presented by a farm business for direct slaughter in NI, GB or in RoI between 16 February and 30 June 2020 (Wk 8 – mid 27) inclusive.
Eligible cattle presented for slaughter between 29 March and 16 May 2020 dates will attract both payments i.e. £73/head.
Who will receive the payments?
The farm business who had the eligible animal registered in their herd on APHIS for at least 30 days before it was slaughtered will get the funding.
If Farmer A had an animal from birth and sold it at 20 months old to Farmer B after who took it for slaughter 2 weeks later, who would get the funding ?
Farmer A – who had it for more than 30 days before slaughter.
If there were 2 or more previous owners who each had the animal for 30 days or more who is eligible for the funding?
The last person with a 30 day ownership registered on APHIS will be eligible for the payment.
Does the beef package include cows (beef and dairy) as well as prime cattle?
Does Nomad (IE Cattle) qualify if they have been in NI and on an NI farm for the minimum 30-days?
Yes but direct imports for slaughter are excluded.
Are cattle exported from NI for direct slaughter in ROI eligible for payment?
Will there be a reduction in funding since the rise in beef price through June?
The level of support payment will not be impacted as a result of the rise in beef price in June.
Payment 1 of £40 per head is based on the number of eligible cattle presented by a farm business for direct slaughter in NI, GB or in RoI between 29 March and 16 May 2020 inclusive.
Payment 2 of £33 per head is based on the number of eligible cattle presented by a farm business for direct slaughter in NI, GB or in RoI between 16 February and 30 June 2020 inclusive. This payment is based on the level of 5th quarter losses to the industry and that isn’t affected by beef price.
What support is available for sheep farmers?
Due to the drop in sheep price a payment of £6.88 per head will be made available on the number of eligible sheep presented by a farm business for direct slaughter in NI, GB or in RoI between 22 March and 18 April 2020 inclusive (Wk 13-16).
Is there a 30 day residency on the sheep that were slaughtered?
Yes, payments will be made to the farm business who had eligible sheep registered in their flock on APHIS, at least 30 days prior to slaughter.
Are sheep eligible if they were only tagged on the morning of slaughter?
The only untagged sheep in the flock should be lambs born into that flock and they will meet the 30 day residency rule.
Are lambs that went for direct slaughter to ROI eligible?
Yes, as long as they were registered on APHIS.
Do ewes qualify?
Ewes slaughtered in NI or directly slaughtered in ROI qualify, provided they were on APHIS.
Is this funding available for all potato growers?
Funding is available to eligible farm businesses who specialise in supplying potatoes for processing to meet food service and hospitality industry needs. This funding will help offset losses caused by the closure of these market outlets during the Covid-19 pandemic (17 March to 31 July 2020).
Is an Expression of Interest form necessary for everyone who wants to apply for the scheme?
The form is designed for those who want an inspection of their store to quantify unsold potatoes. The Application Form and further information regarding the evidence required for sales this year and in previous years will be available in August and published on the DAERA website.
Do I need a form filler to complete the Expression of Interest Form?
This form is very user friendly and only asks a few simple questions to enable your contact details to be registered. This then initiates a DAERA inspection of eligible potatoes that are still in store to quantify the amount for residual value assessment.
If I am a potato processor am I eligible for funding?
No, potato processing businesses are not eligible. Growers that are linked to a potato processing business need to provide evidence that potatoes were sold from the farm business to the potato processing business.
If I have sold potatoes intended for the potato processing market between 17th March – 31st July to other markets at a loss, am I still eligible ?
Yes – if this is your normal business model and you can provide evidence that you normally sell similar amounts for processing at the same time in previous years.
Do I have to provide evidence of sales for previous years?
Yes, you have to provide evidence of sales to the potato processing sector in the past 3 years to support your claim.
I started growing potatoes in 2018 and only have evidence of sales for 1 year. Am I excluded from the scheme ?
No. If you only have evidence for 1 year, you are not excluded from the scheme and should provide the evidence you have to support your claim.
Do growers need a letter from their processor to state they supply them with potatoes? (if no written contract exists)
Any evidence growers can provide such as a letter or contract will support their application, but they must also have evidence of sales (invoices and supporting bank statements).
Is there an upper limit to the amount of funding available ?
Support will be a maximum payment of £136 per ton based on the loss in value of eligible potatoes during the period 17 March to 31 July 2020. Covid 19 Support Fund payments will be limited to the State Aid maximum of €120,000 per farm business.
Is there a size for eligible potatoes ?
Yes there is a 50mm minimum size for eligible potatoes.
Self Employed Support Scheme
Can farmers who are self-employed or a member of a partnership and who have been affected financially by Covid-19 avail of the Self Employed Support Scheme?
Yes, subject to the following eligibility criteria.
a. The individual must be trading at point of application, or would be had it not been for Covid-19, and intend to continue trading.
b. The 2018/19 self-assessment tax return must be filed by 23 April 2020 at the latest to be eligible for the scheme.
c. The individual must have traded in the 2019/20 tax year to be eligible.
d. The business must have been detrimentally affected by coronavirus to be eligible but can still be bringing in money.
e. Only individuals with trading profits of less than £50,000 and comprising more than half of their total taxable income, are eligible.
How much will the scheme pay and how will I receive payment?
The scheme will pay a grant of 80% of monthly self-employed profits with a cap of £2,500 per month. It will be paid initially for 3 months, backdated to March 2020, in the form of a lump sum in June. HMRC currently plan to contact self-employed individuals in mid-May 2020 and HMRC will pay the grant directly into the farmer’s bank account.
Should I contact HMRC now?
No, HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
Are farmers who are not claiming ‘farmers averaging relief’ eligible for the scheme?
Yes. HMRC will use the amount of profit before the impact of averaging claims, to work out if they can claim the grant and how much they will receive.
If I pay myself a salary and dividends through my own company can I avail of this scheme?
This is not covered by this scheme but salary costs may be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.
Where can I find more information on this grant and other COVID 19 support measures for businesses and employers?
More information can be found on the NI Business Info website https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/. These details are updated and added to on a regular basis.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
What is the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)?
CBIL’s is a Government guarantee which secures bank loans to any viable business with a sound borrowing proposal. A business already with financial and/or banking difficulties may not be eligible.
Are farmers eligible and for how much?
For incorporated entities: Available for sums of £10,000 to £5,000,000.
For sole traders and partnerships: Available for sums of £25,001 to £5,000,000.
What is the criteria?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the following questions, you may be eligible for CBILS:
1. Is your business based in the UK?
2. Will the funding you require be used to support business activity within the UK?
3. Is over 50% of your business turnover generated from trading activity?
4. Was your 2019 business turnover less than £45m?
5. Do you operate in an eligible sector? (Agriculture is not on the ineligible list)
6. Is the loan to be used for an eligible purpose? Eligible purposes are Short Term Working Capital; Starting up trading in the UK; Expanding an existing business within the UK; Buying a business (including goodwill) in the UK; Purchase of equipment; Purchase / lease of property; Developing a project; Additional Research and Development.
7. The amount you require is between:
£10,000 and £5m for incorporated entities?
£25,001 and £5m for sole traders* and partnerships?
*(Fishery, aquaculture and agriculture businesses may not qualify for the full interest and fee payment)
8. Is funding required for 6 years or less?
How do I apply?
The following link gives a step by step guide through the application process: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/for-businesses-and-advisors/
Who is currently offering the CBILS in Northern Ireland?
• Bank of Ireland
• Bank of Scotland
• Dankse Bank
• Lloyds Bank
• Ulster Bank
What are the fees?
• No fee required for Government guarantee.
• No loan arrangement fee or loan prepayment fee, should you wish to repay early (HSBC & maybe others)
• An interest free period of 12 months will apply, after which you will be charged an interest rate agreed with your particular bank.
• There may be an option to have a variable interest rate as well as option to fix.
• No repayment of capital required during the period of 12 months from drawdown.
• The loan can be repaid over any period up to 6 years.
What proof is required?
• 2019 Year-End Profit and Loss statement
• 2019 Year-End Balance Sheet
• Year-to-date Profit and Loss statement
• Year-to-date Balance sheet
• Cash flow or Profit and Loss forecast for the next 12 months
How long would I have to wait on the money?
It is suggested loan applications will take between four to six weeks to be approved, but may take longer due to unprecedented demand.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme
Am I an eligible business to apply for this loan?
You can apply for this loan if your business:
• Is based in the UK
• Has been negatively affected by coronavirus
• Wasn’t an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019
What funding is available?
The Bounce Back Loan scheme is designed to support small and medium-sized businesses looking to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. It is 100% government backed. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
How do I apply?
The Bounce Back Loan scheme was launched on 4 May 2020, further details will be made available on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan
Can I apply if I’m already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)?
You can’t apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.