O’Neill confirms that active farmer checks are under way

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Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has confirmed that work is under way to assess 2015 applications to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to ensure all claimants meet the active farmer requirement.

To be allocated entitlements in 2015 under the BPS, a farmer must be able to demonstrate that he enjoys the decision making power, benefits and financial risks in relation to the agricultural activity on each parcel of land for which an allocation of entitlements is requested. This is known as the active farmer requirement.

Minister O’Neill said: “It is very important that all 2015 applications are thoroughly assessed to determine they meet the ‘active farmer’ requirement. As part of these checks DARD is reviewing the information that it holds for each applicant, including that submitted as part of the 2015 Single Application process, to identify cases where the applicant may not be farming all of the land declared by them on their application form. In cases where doubt is identified, DARD will write to the applicant asking them to confirm they are an active farmer by providing evidence of the agricultural activity which has taken place or is planned to take place on that land in 2015.”

Highlighting the importance of responding to this letter quickly, Minister O’Neill continued: “If you receive one of these letters it is important that you follow the advice contained within it and provide the necessary information within the deadlines stipulated. It is your responsibility to demonstrate how you meet the requirements of the Basic Payment Scheme. If you do not provide the information requested or if you provide incomplete information, your application for BPS entitlements may be rejected and no entitlements will be allocated to your business in 2015.”