THE UFU explains new guidance for farmers and landowners involved in a dual claim. A dual use claim involves separate claimants to the Single Farm Payment and the Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowance Schemes on a single parcel of land.
The European Auditors have expressed concerns about the ability of two persons to retain sufficient control of the same parcel of land to be able to claim two separate payments in a dual claim situation. DARD has therefore decided to introduce an enhanced set of controls, in the form of requiring a written conacre Agreement, to address the Auditors’ concerns and allow dual claims to continue. Without some form of enhanced control measures there could be a threat of disallowance.
The UFU are pleased that DARD did not decide to ban dual claims outright, given the importance of the LFACA payment to those actively farming in the uplands on conacre ground, which could have put £5 million of the LFACA payment drawn down by those farming in a dual claim situation at risk.
What do you need to do?
Anyone involved in a dual claim will be required to have a written conacre Agreement in place. To make things easier there is a standard Agreement available, which can be found in the links section on the UFU website http://www.ufuni.org/Links.aspx. The UFU has worked closely with DARD and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors to ensure the Agreement is as simple as possible to complete to minimise any additional burden on farmers. Claimants are strongly encouraged to make use of this Agreement.
LFACA claimants in a dual claim situation will be required to sign a declaration on the 2013 Single Application Form to confirm they are in a dual use claim and have a suitable written conacre Agreement in place. However the Agreement will not have to be submitted with the SAF form. DARD will then identify all dual use claims and a sample of these claims will be selected and the LFACA applicant will be asked to send the written conacre Agreement to DARD. The SFP applicant will also be notified of this. Both claims will be put on hold until DARD confirm that a suitable written conacre Agreement has been put in place. Failure to produce a suitable written conacre agreement when requested to do so will result in the LFACA payment on the land in question being refused and a penalty for over-declaration considered.
UFU members requiring further information can contact UFU directly or their local DARD Office.