Farmers urged to return information

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Agriculture Minister O’Neill, pictured, has outlined that farm businesses, which need to provide DARD with additional information relating to their 2015 application for the Basic Payment Scheme, should do as soon as possible and no later than 29 January 2016.

As part of its assessment of the 2015 Single Application forms, DARD has written to some farmers seeking further information to ensure that they meet eligibility requirements of the Basic Payment scheme. Some businesses have contacted the Department to request more time to provide this information. Others indicated, as part of their response to the Active Farmer letter they received in July, that they would provide further information at a later stage.

Minister O’Neill said: “I know that, in some cases, businesses want to provide as much information as they can to demonstrate that they do meet the eligibility conditions of the Basic Payment Scheme, such as the active farmer requirement. Many have contacted DARD and asked for more time to get this information together. However, we cannot continue processing your 2015 Single Application and make any payment that is due to you until this information is received.

“Under EU rules, Basic Payment Scheme entitlements are required to be definitively established by 1 April 2016. Therefore additional supporting information should be provided as soon as it is available and no later than Friday, 29 January 2016.”

The Minister went on to say: “It is to your advantage to ensure that we are assessing applications on the best available information and to have a decision made on whether entitlements should be allocated to your business as soon as possible. This will provide you with certainty about the entitlements you have established well in advance of having to submit a 2016 Single Application by 15 May 2016 and help avoid difficulties you could face if you wish to trade entitlements.

“I would strongly encourage businesses who have been asked to provide any further information, for whatever reason, to get it to us as soon as possible and well before 29 January 2016.”