Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has published guidance on land eligibility under CAP Reform.
The ‘Guide to Land Eligibility 2015’ document contains information about a range of land features which may be regarded as ineligible for payment under land-based schemes, including field boundaries, marginal land and scrub.
Publishing the guidance Minister O’Neill said: “I want to ensure that farmers receive the correct information in order to submit accurate claims for all land-based schemes in 2015, including the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and the Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme (ANC).
“As in previous years, it is key that farm businesses only claim eligible land. However, there is an additional significance to claiming only eligible land this year, as this is the first year of the Basic Payment Scheme and new entitlements will be allocated, based upon the eligible area declared by the farmer in 2015.
“Farm businesses should give very careful consideration to claiming areas which do not make a significant contribution to the agricultural activity of their business as there is a high probability that these areas are ineligible. If my Department subsequently discovers that Basic Payment Scheme entitlements have been established on ineligible areas, these entitlements may be confiscated which could result in a substantial deduction in their direct payment in 2015 and future years.
“It is important that farmers understand the land eligibility requirements of the new schemes and I urge farmers to read through the guidance, which is available on the DARD website.”