Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has welcomed the support of the Ulster Farmer’s Union (UFU) in encouraging farmers to use DARD’s online service when submitting their Single Applications this year.
With just over four weeks to the 15 May deadline for Single Applications Minister O’Neill met with the President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union Ian Marshall at his farm in Markethill, Co.Armagh as he began the process of submitting his Single Application online.
Acknowledging UFU’s endorsement of DARD’s online Single Application service Minister O’Neill said: “In 2014 we received approximately 40% of Single Applications via the online service and since then we have been working with the UFU and other farming groups to make further improvements to the online service for this year.
“I am pleased that the UFU took part in focus groups with my officials to help deliver an improved system and now recognise the benefits to farmers of submitting their Single Application online.
“It is encouraging to see Ian completing his Single Application online and I am hopeful that with support of the UFU and other farming groups that more farmers decide to use the online service this year, given its many advantages over the paper form. It cuts down on simple mistakes and reduces the chances of farmers being penalised. That is something we all want to avoid, particularly in this year of significant change.
“With just over four weeks until the Single Application closing date of 15 May I would appeal to farmers, help us to help you, complete your Single Application online.”
Endorsing DARD’s online service and urging farmers to complete their Single Application online, UFU President Ian Marshall said: “DARD has revamped the on-line Single Application Form (SAF) and the new system has been specifically built and designed for online applications. The result is far more user friendly and should make the online application process easier.
“Access to fast broadband continues to be an issue for many people in rural areas but the situation is improving and we would like to encourage our members who have a good broadband connection to submit their 2015 applications online. While the UFU recognises that the CAP implementation process has been complex and difficult, the overhaul of the on-line application system means that at the very least it should be easier and less time consuming for farmers to submit their 2015 SAF online.”