Less than a third of the total expected Single Applications have been received so far by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development (DAERA).
DAERA is urging farmers to submit their online Single Application as soon as possible as only 32% of total expected Applications have been received.
Head of Area Based Schemes at DAERA, Jason Foy, has appealed to farmers not to take unnecessary risks by assuming their application could be straightforward.
He said: “We expect to receive approximately 25,000 Single Applications and to date we have received 8,000 (approximately 32%).
“With the closing date of 15 May fast approaching, I would urge farmers to begin completing your online Single Application now as there may be additional actions you may need to take and this will only become clear once you begin the application process. If this is the case and you leave it until the last few days it increases the risk of your application being late and a penalty being applied.
“If farmers are considering making applications for the first time for the young farmers’ payment, or for entitlements from the regional reserve, it’s particularly important to get started right away, there’s some documentary evidence that needs to be provided to demonstrate that the young farmer is head of the business.”
Mr Foy added that for farmers who may require assistance with their online Single Application there are a number of options available.
He continued: “DAERA staff are ready to provide assistance to farmers in a number of ways. We’re running a series of workshops in the CAFRE campuses where farmers can book a place, come along and learn how to complete their applications. Farmers can actually submit their applications on the night if they wish. These workshops will continue until 10 May and are free of charge to attend.
“Alternatively call the SAF Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848 or use the webchat facility within the online application system.”
The closing date for submitting the Single Application Form (SAF) is midnight Tuesday 15 May 2018. Applications submitted after this date will incur a penalty.
Direct Help available
Farmers are reminded that DAERA provides a number of options to help and support them with this important task:
Come to one of the “How to Complete Your Single Application” workshops.
The workshops are being held at CAFRE campuses in Enniskillen, Cookstown and Antrim and run until 10 May 2018. You don’t need any particular IT skills to attend – our staff will be there to help and guide you through the process of completing your application. This is an appointment only service, so book a place now by contacting 02871 319 955 and don’t miss out while appointments are still available. Dates for the workshops can be found on the DAERA website at https://tinyurl.com/y8snmp3m
Call the SAF Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848 (Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm) or use the convenient webchat facility within the application. Our advisors are ready to help you with any queries about your application or the schemes.
If the SAF Advisor thinks that you would benefit from further help, you may be offered a ‘one to one’ appointment at your local DAERA Direct office where staff can help you complete your application. This is an appointment only service so you must ring the SAF Advisory Service to obtain an appointment. If you think you will require this help you should act now while appointments are still available.
Check out the DAERA website http://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/area-based-schemes-2018-guidance-and-forms for more information and helpful videos that demonstrate how to complete your application online.
Alternatively, farmers can use the services of an agent or trusted person that you know such as a relative or friend, who can be given online access to complete your application on your behalf. If you are planning to use the services of an agent it is also important that you contact them immediately. If you have not previously done so, you will need to complete a form to nominate an authorised person. You can download this form from the DAERA website at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/single-application-and-maps-nomination-authorised-person-form or your agent may provide this for you.
Farmers who have secured EFS Agreements are reminded that they should make their application for payment on their 2018 Single Application.