The Agricultural Commodities (Coronavirus)(Income Support) Scheme (Northern Ireland) 2020

In the next few weeks farm businesses considered eligible for the support in the dairy, beef and sheep sectors will be contacted and asked to submit an application to avail of the funding.

The payments that will be made to those in the dairy, beef and sheep sectors will be determined by data the Department already holds, or can be readily obtained from other sources.

For the Potato and Horticulture sectors, eligible growers will be asked to provide documentary evidence to demonstrate the scale of loss incurred – more detail on this process will follow.

Payments will be limited to the State Aid maximum of €120,000 per farm business.

Covid-19 Potatoes Support Scheme - Expression of Interest Form

Dairy

There is funding of up to £11m available to offset loss caused by the drop in milk price.

Support will be 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 they supplied to a processor in the period March to June 2020.

Volumes of milk sold on fixed price contracts above the February 2020 reference price of 26.68p/l will not be included in the support package.

Beef

There is funding of up to £7m available to offset loss caused by drop in beef price.

Support 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 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. 

Eligible cattle presented for slaughter between 29 March and 16 May will attract both payments.

Payments will be made to the farm business that had eligible cattle registered in their herd on APHIS, at least 30 days prior to slaughter.

Sheep

There is funding of up to £232k available to offset loss caused by the drop in sheep price.

Support will be a payment of £6.88 per head based 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 2020 April inclusive.

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.

Potatoes

There is funding of up to £1.6m available to eligible farm businesses (please see below) 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.

Support will be a payment per ton based on the loss in value of eligible potatoes (please see below) during the period 17 March to 31 July 2020.

Losses will be calculated as the difference between the reference price (£200/t) and sale price if sold at a loss, or residual value (stock feed value of £30/t) if still in store from 22 July 2020.

Growers that meet the eligibility criteria should complete an Expression of Interest form and return by 31st July 2020. This will initiate an inspection of eligible potatoes that are still in store to quantify the amount for residual value assessment.

Following inspection, a more detailed application process will be required.

Growers will be expected to provide evidence that they normally supplied the potato processing market, and provide evidence of financial loss based on invoice based sales of eligible potatoes (tons and value) with associated proof of payment (eg bank statement) for eligible potatoes sold at a loss in the period 17 March – 31 July 2020.

This application and further guidance will be available for completion in August.

Eligible Farm Businesses:

  • must provide evidence of the quantities of potatoes that the farm business normally supplied to the potato processing (please see below) market in the past 3 years, in the period 17 March to end of July,
  • must have eligible potatoes intended for the potato processing market in their store from 22 July 2020 until they are inspected by DAERA if claiming residual value as stock feed,
  • OR if all or part quantity of eligible potatoes intended for the potato processing market have been sold at a loss in the period 17 March to 31 July 2020, must provide evidence of invoice based sales showing quantity and price and proof of payment (eg bank statement), for those potatoes.
  • if the farm business is linked to a potato processing business, there must be clear separation of financial transactions between the businesses.

Eligible Potatoes:

  • must be grown in Northern Ireland in 2019
  • must be potatoes intended for the potato processing market
  • must belong to the farm business, and be in a store located in NI if claiming residual value
  • must be a minimum size of 50mm

Potato Processing

Potato processing is defined as the preparation of convenience potato products which are primarily made by washing, peeling, size reduction and the removal of defective matter. Subsequent steps may involve a wide combination of heat treatments, cooling processes, dehydration steps, frying systems or freezing stages. The final product is then packaged and stored appropriately.

If you have a question relating to any of the schemes, please visit the Question and Answer section at Covid-19 Support Fund Q&A or send your question to: COVID19.Support@daera-ni.gov.uk

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