Extra opening hours for DAERA’s SAF Advisory Service

editorial image

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today announced additional availability for it Single Application Form (SAF) Advisory Service.

From 9am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday 6 and 7 May, and 13 and 14 May 2017, the SAF Advisory Service will be available to offer advice and help to those farmers who have yet to submit their applications.

The deadline for submitting your Single Application online is midnight on Monday 15 May 2017. Therefore, DAERA is strongly urging farm businesses to make arrangements now to avail of the help available. The SAF Advisory Service is available on: 0300 200 7848.

A DAERA spokeswoman said: “We are not issuing paper forms generally this year and the closing date for receipt of your online Single Application (Monday 15 May) is fast approaching.

“We are urging farmers to help us to help them by contacting the SAF Advisory Service now to discuss their options and secure the help they may need to make their online application safely and on time. The service has proved very popular with more than 7,500 callers receiving advice and help so far.

“The most popular of the services provided has been the one-to-one appointments in local DAERA Direct offices. DAERA still has the capacity for about 2,000 appointments before the 15 May deadline - but this number is decreasing on a daily basis.”

She added: “As this is one of the most important things farmers will do this year, we strongly recommend you take action now and avoid any risk to your payment by calling now on 0300 200 7848.”

More than 1,200 farmers have already availed of one-to-one appointments in their local DAERA Direct office and the vast majority left with their application fully completed. These appointments can only be arranged through the SAF Advisory Service.

When a farmer calls, a specially trained SAF Adviser will talk to them about the options to complete their SAF online.If one-to-one help is required then that help can be arranged for a time that is convenient to them. Farmers will need to have their Government Gateway ID, password and email address before they attend their appointment.

The SAF Adviser will help with all that as well. At the appointment a DAERA Direct adviser will guide the farmer through their application, making any changes to land details, submitting the application and receiving a receipt. It’s a comprehensive service.

While the series of “How to complete your SAF online” workshops finishes this week there are still places available at the events scheduled for Loughry and Enniskillen colleges on Tuesday 2 May and at Greenmount on Thursday 7 May. Call now to book your place on: 028 7131 9955.

Farmers can also give someone else permission to complete their form online for them. This can be a member of their family, a friend, an accountant or an agent. Farmers will need to complete the form to nominate an authorised person. If they choose to use an agent it is important they contact them now.

The closing date for this year’s Single Application is 15 May 2017 and, as in previous years, Single Applications received by 15 May can be amended without penalty until 31 May 2017. This provision to amend an application covers changes to the use of fields already declared, increase to the area claimed by adding extra fields to an application, or subsequent changes arising from the amendments to any supporting documentation. EFA declarations are included in this provision.

Check out the Department’s website for more information and helpful videos that demonstrate how to complete your application online: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/topics/grants-and-funding/area-based-schemes-2017