Environment secretary Hilary Benn said: "Following successful trial runs earlier this month, the agency has made full payments under the 2008 Single Payment Scheme."
By 16 December, just over £700m had been paid to around 21,000 claimants, he said. The agency planned to make more payment runs before Christmas.
"This is a good start to meeting the RPA target of making 75 per cent of this year's payments by the end of January and 90 per cent by the end of March."
The NFU said a fifth of claimants had received just under half of Single Payment Scheme money. The total pot was £1.45bn and average payments were about £33,300.
"This time last year the RPA had paid just over 20,000 farmers a total of £180m, an average payment of approximately £9,000.
"There is a significant improvement this year in the RPA's policy in trying to clear larger claims, often the claims that take the time to be processed."