Farmers urged to act now on forms

Ian McNeice
Ian McNeice

Large numbers of farmers have yet to submit their Single Application Forms (SAFs) on-line, according to Countryside Services’ managing director Ian McNiece.

“And time is running out,” he said.

“All applications must be submitted digitally this year. This represents a new challenge for many farmers. And this is why producers should be giving active thought to how best they can submit their application right now.

“If it is left to the last minute, the end result could be chaos.”

McNiece highlighted the advisory services available from DAERA, in relation to the SAF submission process.

“In our own case we have a team of people now available at locations across Northern Ireland, who have been trained by DAERA to complete and submit SAF applications on clients’ behalf.

“Those providing the service are working out of the Countryside Services office near Dungannon and a number of Ulster Farmers’ Union branch offices.

“They can work through the entire application process, no matter how complex an individual client’s case may be.

“The vast majority of cases are extremely straightforward in nature. However, this may not be so if new farm buildings have been erected or changes have been made to the farm business’ land base during the previous 12 months.”

McNiece confirmed that the rates charged by the Countryside Services’ form filling team are comparable with those levied by private consultants.

“We are simply responding to a genuine need that exists throughout rural areas at the present time.

“The reality is that if farmers need help and support in submitting their 2017 SAF applications, there is plenty of guidance and support for them to avail of. But my strong advice to producers is act now.

“Leaving the application process to the last minute will be extremely problematic.”

For further information, contact Countryside Services on (028) 8778 9770.