Website offers advice on CAP reform schemes

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Now that the SAF period has opened DARD has three key messages for farmers - make your claim early; claim online rather than on paper; and make sure your maps are accurate and make sure you meet the eligibility rules.

To help farmers complete their Single Application accurately the DARD website contains a wealth of information on the CAP reform schemes. The website should be the farmer’s first port of call when seeking guidance and information as the material is regularly kept up-to-date, is convenient, and is available 24/7.

The deadline for SAF submissions (15 May 2015) will soon be upon us and DARD would urge those farmers who have not yet completed their Single Application that now is the time to be considering and gathering the information you will need to make your claims for the new area-based schemes. As some applications, such as Young Farmer and New Entrant, will require supporting documentation and evidence, there is real risk that if farmers leave it too late they will encounter difficulties meeting the 15 May deadline date.

Under the new schemes the rules for payment have changed and mistakes in the application process may result in financial penalties. The online service has been further simplified for 2015, designed in such a way as to help farmers to avoid common errors. It will also feature a new tool to enable farmers to see whether or not they meet their greening requirements.

The DARD website (http://www.dardni.gov.uk/area-based-schemes-2015.htm) provides access to all the information and guidance that farmers will need. Where farmers are not able to or are uncomfortable with using the internet, the local DARD Direct offices can provide access to the same information.

What’s available on the DARD website?

There is information and guidance on the schemes, help with online applications, useful tools, forms and frequently asked questions.

Information & Guidance

The Guide to Area Based Schemes 2015 booklet - provides information on the area-based schemes that are available from 2015 onwards, the eligibility criteria for each scheme, how you can apply, and where you can access more detailed information if required.

The Guide to Greening Payment 2015 - provides detailed rules and worked examples. For those farmers impacted by the ecological focus area requirements the guide explains the process for declaring EFAs.

The Guide to Land Eligibility - explains land eligibility rules. The guide should also be followed when submitting claims for Agri-environment schemes that started before 31 December 2007.

The Guide to the Private Contract Clause 2015 booklet - explains how the Private Contract Clauses work and provides examples of using them. There is also guidance for farmers with land in more than one part of the UK in this section.

Application Process

You can find guidance on the ‘Application Process’ by clicking on ‘2015 Single Application Online Help’ or ‘Notes to help you fill in your 2015 Single application Form - a quick reference’.

The definitive guidance on the Young Farmers’ Payment and the Regional Reserve will be of particular interest to Young farmers and New Entrants providing important information on the application process and supporting evidence required.

Guidance on Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) and Cross Compliance are also available.

In the forms section farmers will find the Young Farmer registration form, Regional Reserve application form, SAF4 and LPIS correct forms. Private Contract Clause PCC1 & PCC2 and the business change forms are also available.

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) provides an extensive range of Q&A’s on the new Area-based Schemes in 2015 and how to apply for them.

DARD would encourage farmers, and their representatives, to check out the information available online and to use DARD’s online application service.

If farmers have a specific query they have a number of options available:

They can contact DARD by using the following email addresses:

l Grants and Funding Helpline: areabasedschemes@dardni.gov.uk

l Greening Helpline: greeninghelpline@dardni.gov.uk

They can telephone DARD on the Grants and Funding Number: 0300 200 7848.

They can send their query in writing to Area-based Schemes Payment Branch, Orchard House, 40 Foyle Road, Derry/Londonderry’ BT48 6AT.

Alternatively they can call to their local DARD Direct office. Please quote Farm Business Identification Number on all correspondence or have it to hand before you call.