The aim within DAERA is to get coronavirus support paid out to Northern Ireland farmers by July.

Speaking at Stormont on Friday, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots said that most local banks offered farmers a three-month overdraft extension which would be finishing at the end of June.

“It may be something which might help if we could get it out for that sort of time period. It’s a very big ask to get it out for that time period, but at least if the banks knew it was coming, they could hold off for another month,” he said.

Aid package

The aid package worth £25m was announced on Tuesday and will be used in the dairy, beef and horticulture sectors.

Minister Poots said that the mechanism for allocating payments was still to be decided and the impact of coronavirus on other farming sectors would be kept under review.

“In August and September, if we see a 20% reduction in lamb prices, then I could go back to the Executive,” the DUP politician said.

“The only thing about sheep is that with the numbers that are involved, it wouldn’t be £25m that I would need to go back for. It would be considerably less than that, so it would be an easier ask,” he added.

Read more

£25m support for dairy and beef sectors

Coronavirus package for NI agriculture announced