The COVID-19 income support schemes for the pigs and poultry sectors in NI have opened for applications.
A budget of £2.2m has been allocated to pig producers who were impacted by the two-week closure of Cranswick Country Foods last August.
Under the scheme, two payments are available for farmers who slaughtered pigs at the Cullybackey factory during the nine-week period to 7 November when there was a processing backlog.
A payment of £16.79/pig covers penalties for out of spec carcases due to slaughtering delays. A further payment of £15/pig compensates for lower prices after Cranswick temporarily lost access to the Chinese market.
Cranswick introduced an extra £11/pig kill charge for three weeks after it re-opened
For farmers who slaughtered pigs at other processors when Cranswick was closed, a payment is available to cover reduced prices. Rates of £11.18/pig and £2.58/pig are payable to farmers who slaughtered pigs at Grant’s in Derry and Karro in Cookstown respectively.
Cranswick introduced an extra £11/pig kill charge for three weeks after it re-opened, but this is not being compensated for as DAERA only aims to cover 80% of financial losses.
The department wants to avoid overcompensation and argue that farmers could apply for other government schemes, such as the self-employed income support and bounce back loans.
The £2m poultry scheme is also designed to cover 80% of losses in the hatching egg sector after demand reduced in local supply chains and international markets.
Various payments rates apply for broiler pullet rearing and broiler hatching egg laying farms. The payments compensate for every day over the normal intercrop periods that houses were empty.
All eligible applicants for both schemes are being contacted by DAERA
Second payments are also available to cover the loss of performance payments which are usually part of supply contracts.
All eligible applicants for both schemes are being contacted by DAERA and the application process mainly involves confirming information outlined in a prepopulated form, as the Department has already received relevant information from processors.
Applications must be submitted by midnight on 24 March and DAERA state that payments are expected to begin within two weeks of the closing date.