The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that the 2017 Online Single Application Form (SAF) will be available from 1 March 2017.
DAERA will no longer automatically issue paper SAFs. The deadline for receipt of all Single Applications and supporting evidence is 15 May 2017.
Submit your application early
All 2017 field information will be available when you log on to the Single Application and Maps Service via DAERA Online Services. There are a number of factors that you will need to consider and actions that you might need to take to get your business ready for the switch to online.
Benefits of submitting online
o Enables DAERA to make advance part payments
o You can view your map within your online SAF
o You can make changes to your map which automatically update your field data tables
o You can make changes to your application up to 15th May
o Error alerts
o Greater accuracy, reducing the possibility of penalties
o Convenience – quick and easy to use.
o Safe and secure
o Notification that application has been received
Some factors to consider
If you are not already registered for DAERA online services, or never applied online before, you will require a DAERA access key and Government Gateway Account in addition to a valid email address. DAERA has recently written to all 2016 paper applicants providing information and instructions on how to obtain a Government Gateway account. If you need assistance please call the SAF Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848. It is important that you prepare now.
Alternatively, do you have someone you know who can help you? You can give someone else permission to complete your form online for you. This can, for example, be a member of your family, a friend, your accountant or an agent. You will need to complete a form to nominate an authorised person. The person who is helping you can download this form from the DAERA website www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/nomination-authorised-person-form-0 or call the SAF Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848. If you choose to use an agent make sure to contact them early to make the necessary authorisation arrangements. Again, it is important that you make arrangements now.
No access to broadband
or IT equipment? – No
If you have poor broadband, problems with, or no access to IT equipment, or are simply not confident about using a computer, then a SAF Adviser can (0300 2007848), in certain circumstances, arrange an appointment for you in your local DAERA Direct Office. This appointment will be on a one-to-one basis and the DAERA Direct Office adviser will guide you through your online application. It is important that you bring your Government Gateway ID and Password or Customer ID and DAERA Access key to that appointment.
The DAERA website will contain all the up-to-date guidance and information, Questions & Answers and some video tutorials on ‘How to complete your SAF online’.
Ensure information is
accurate – avoid
If you applied online last year or are Aphis registered, once you log on to the DAERA Online Services you will have access to your Single Application form, which will be pre-populated with your 2016 data, and will also contain your e-map. There is no change to the look and feel of the application from 2016.
As an additional aid there will be a PDF document of your 2016 data which can be downloaded and printed off. If you have no changes to make then the process is straightforward - check your land data and submit. If you have changes to your land, these can be made on your e-map, which will automatically feed into and update the field data in the online application. This is one of the features that will help you to submit accurate claims and to avoid penalties.
A key improvement for 2017 is for farmers who have to make an Ecological Focus Area (EFA) declaration. All the features declared in 2016 will be available to view on your online map.
Check all your
If you don’t farm it, don’t claim it.
If you do farm it, make sure you can provide evidence to demonstrate it. This is the most important task when completing your SAF this year. Allow yourself adequate time to check all your information to ensure it is correct before submitting your application. You can only claim on land where the agricultural activity being carried out is under your control. You may be asked to provide evidence to demonstrate that you are actively farming the land on which you are claiming Basic Payment. Only one applicant can activate entitlements on each field. Make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria to apply and avoid duplicate field penalties.
Leasing and selling
If you are no longer farming you cannot claim but you can lease or sell your entitlements to a business which is farming in 2017. From early March you will be able to transfer BPS entitlements using our online Transfer Service.
Ensure your business is separate
If you are a new farm business, you need to be registered with us as a fully separate and independent business before your SAF can be processed. To register, you must complete and submit an FB1 application to allow us to assess whether your business meets the necessary conditions. You can download this form from our website at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/business-change-forms-2017 or get one from your local DAERA Direct office.
As this registration process can take time, you are strongly advised to do so without delay. We must have received your FB1 application by 15 May 2017. New Business IDs are allocated on the condition that they will remain a fully separate and independent business. If this is subsequently found not to be the case, a merger will be required. Further information on the criteria used to determine whether a farm business is separate can be found at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/2017-guide-basic-payment-scheme
If you are an existing farm business, it is important that you remain separate from other businesses. If you have commonly managed herds/flocks registered to another business, we recommend that you take immediate action to manage these herds/flocks independently, including separate grazing and housing. Alternatively, you should consider merging the businesses by submitting a merger application https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/business-change-forms-2017 by 15 May 2017.
If a new person is taking over an existing business, this can be accommodated within an existing business ID by providing evidence that this person is head of holding. Similarly if management is shared, it is possible to have more than one herd/flock (if applicable) within the one business ID and divide any payments from DAERA among the members of the business as they decide.
A new business ID should only be applied for when the applicant is establishing a separate farm. All applications to the regional reserve and/or for the young farmers’ payment will be subject to close scrutiny and if found not to be separate, the application may be rejected. In general, making any application as a business which is not fully separate and independent may result in a loss of payment.
Additional forms and
evidence – what and when?
In addition to your SAF, you may need to submit additional forms or evidence as part of the application process. In some cases, you may need to present supporting evidence in person at a DAERA Direct office. Check the guidance and follow the instructions carefully to ensure that you include all the required information within the application deadlines. If supporting evidence is not received within the application deadlines, your application (or the part to which the supporting evidence would relate) may be rejected.
2017 Young Farmers’
Payment (YFP)/Regional Reserve (RR) Applications
If you are applying for the YFP and/or to the RR in 2017 there are some factors to consider:
1. If you have successfully applied for the YFP previously, then you should apply for payment in 2017 on your SAF.
2.If you are a new applicant in 2017 for the YFP and/or RR (this includes previously unsuccessful applicants), you should apply on your SAF and provide a completed 2017 YFP/RR Form and the required supporting evidence.
3. If you are a new applicant in 2017 and operate your business as a partnership/multi-member business you do not have to provide a partnership document. You do, however, need to ensure the declarations in Section 3.4 of the 2017 YFP/RR Form are fully completed by all the relevant parties.
All applicants should ensure they and their business can comply with the 2017 scheme requirements.