DAERA has issued advice for landowners who may have been affected by floods this week.
Data from the Met Office indicates 63% of the average August rainfall fell within a nine hour period on one night this month.
The eligibility of your land for schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme may have been affected by the floods on Tuesday 22 August.
A spokesperson said: “DAERA is conscious that this is a challenging situation for farmers and land owners and wishes to ensure that they take the right actions now to safeguard their payments under area based schemes.
“If you have been affected, you should apply to DAERA within 15 days of the event for consideration for ‘force majeure’.
“Farm businesses should note that if during any scheme year a section of your land becomes unexpectedly flooded or damaged, and if this impacts on your ability to carry out agricultural or woodland activity on land you have claimed as being eligible on your Single Application Form, you are advised to submit a force majeure application to DAERA within 15 working days of the event to allow your circumstances to be considered.
“To do this, you are advised to immediately contact Area-Based Schemes Payment Branch on 0300 200 7848. A link to the application form can be found here: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/force-majeure
“When you tell us of a ‘force majeure’ you will be asked to complete an FML1 application form (available on the DAERA website) and return it to Area-Based Schemes Payment Branch.
“We will look at each request individually so that we can confirm that despite taking all reasonable measures to counteract their effects, the force majeure or exceptional circumstances prevented you from meeting your obligations. You will be asked for information, supported by evidence where appropriate, of the steps you have taken to prevent or lessen the effect of these circumstances,” the spokesperson added.
Therefore, if your farm or land holding has been affected by the recent flash floods, and in order to safeguard your scheme payments, you should contact the Area-based Schemes Payment Branch on 0300 200 7848 urgently to apply for force majeure.
More information on force majeure and its relevance to those claiming area based scheme payments is contained within the Guide to the Basic Payments Scheme 2017 (Page 62) which can be accessed via the DAERA Website.